This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Rise Of The Witchcraft Craze In 17th Century Britain

2934 words - 12 pages

The Rise of the Witchcraft Craze in 17th Century Britain

Accusations of witchcraft date back to 900 AD, but killing following
accusation reached a fever pitch in the late 16th century Europe, and
late 17th century Britain. Germany and Scotland were the areas that
were most heavily purged, with an estimated 4000 witches dying in
Scotland and 26 000 dying in Germany (Gibbons). The Inquisition in
Britain happened against a backdrop of new ideas competing with
established traditions which created a sense of confusion and
religious hysteria amongst the general population. A number of
theories have developed from historians as to what sparked the
witchcraft craze; ideas of the Reformation and rise of Puritanism have
been published alongside beliefs of the witch hunt being a
'gendercide' (Katz).

The transformation of the established church in Britain alongside the
rise of Puritanism created a sense of disorder and fear. The church
was an integral part of the British society in the 17th century, and
the Reformation which featured the split of the Catholic church under
Henry VIII provoked feelings of uncertainty amongst the general
population. The weakness of the established church had been revealed,
generating disunity among the highly conservative and religious
population. Nachman Ben-Yehuda describes the effect of this
transformation in relation to the witchcraze: "Where the Catholic
Church was weakest {they} experienced a virulent witch craze. Where
the Catholic Church was strong hardly any witch craze occurred". This
correlates to the figures for Italy, Spain and Portugal, countries
where the church was strong, having much lower figures than Britian
and the less religiously indoctrinated population of Germany.

The rise of Puritanism from Protestantism saw an increasing militant
and conservative attitude to witchcraft being adopted. It could be
conceived that this old-fashioned attitude which developed against a
backdrop of scientific development, sparked passion in the Puritan
church to purge their society of witches. Smith, the secularist
historian, and therefore with perhaps a biased view, notes, "A patent
cause of the mania was the zeal and bibliolatry of Puritanism".
Johnson concurs with this statement by observing, "Above all,
Puritanism was the dynamic behind the increase in witch-hunting". Part
of the Puritan belief is the creation of a 'land of saints' which
meant that Puritans would actively seek to banish evil from their
communities, which in the 17th century, took the form of witchcraft.
Mainly stimulated by the Civil War, Puritanism rose in credibility and
following as a religion. Through the desire to create a 'land of
saints' and with papal sanction (Papal Bull 1484), religious believers
were legitimately able to accuse any whom they felt were guilty of
...

Find Another Essay On The Rise of the Witchcraft Craze in 17th Century Britain

Marriage in the 17th Century Essay

1873 words - 7 pages The seventeenth century was a fascinating time period of English history, and has always got a lot of attention from historians around the world. In this time period men had all the power over their women and had all the laws on their side of a marriage. During the seventeenth century marriages were slowly escaping the time when a lot of marriages were arranged by parents and people where starting to be able to choose their partners for

Witchcraft in the 15th century Essay

2098 words - 8 pages to escape from. Therefore, in order to defend my decision to choose religion, I will be adopting a new historicist point of view for the first few paragraphs of this paper.      To me, the other two major theories applied to the problems of witchcraft seem much to politicized to be considered as historical. As Sharpe states, addressing the gender issue first, “The crucial development here was the rise of the Women’s

The Rise of Democracy in Britain

1711 words - 7 pages The Rise of Democracy in Britain The dynamic course of the nineteenth century set off a revolution within the realm of British politics. Foreign influence and domestic transformation created a situation where individual interests were forced into the public sphere for political reconciliation. The shift towards democratic government was largely unscripted because Britain had no written constitution to guide its path

The Rise of Democracy in Great Britain

1183 words - 5 pages from a monarchy to a democracy was because of the Industrial Revolution. In the middle ages, monarchy was extremely strong in Great Britain. There were many remarkable kings and queens; there were kings like James I, George III, Henry VII, and many others who are known for accomplishing things like separating the Catholic Church from England or for being challenged by the American colonists. During this period of time people were not allowed to

Love in the Poetry of the 16th and 17th Century

1462 words - 6 pages During the 16th and 17th century, many love poems and sonnets were written and most likely circulated for amusement and satire among poets. Though every poem is written about the poet’s undying love for their beloved, they all display different attitudes to love and ways of showing it. In 130, Shakespeare writes of his dark lady, portraying a real picture of her genuine features. Almost every line at first glance seems like an insult to his

Women and Politics in the 17th Century

1637 words - 7 pages type of woman who could have only come forward in the maelstrom melting pot of the 1660s. If it weren’t for the return of King Charles II, where would women be? Would have made it as far as they have in politics and modern life today? Because of King Charles II and his love of women, they were successful at there are of backstairs politics giving political influence in the court which reshaped politics forever. Works Cited: 1.) Worsley, Lucy. "Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls." Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls Recorded May 2012. BBC4. Web, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiFaSHd6H18.

Political Philosophy in the 17th Century

1250 words - 5 pages is today. John Locke, a philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, a political philosopher, and Bishop Bossuet, a theologist and bishop, are three people from the 17th century whose views has set courses in history. Locke, Hobbes, and Bossuet had answers to what kind of government was needed to fit human nature. These characters of history have influenced many regions of the world during its time; to learn what they believed will help explain why. Locke

Britain in the Eighteenth Century

2275 words - 9 pages Britain in the Eighteenth Century In the eighteenth century, Britain was a very different country, both industrially and agriculturally. Today's major cities such as London and Birmingham were a fraction of the size that they are today. There were no major factories, with the eighteenth century equivalent running on power generated from waterwheels. There were no roads, just dirt tracks, and all farming was done

The challenges of the Dutch Republic in the 17th and 18th century

720 words - 3 pages During the late 17th century and early into the 18th century, the security, unity, and prosperity of the Dutch Republic were challenged. The Dutch faced many problems, such as trade being hindered because of naval battles, the government and economy being torn apart from the economic problems, and the lack of money being made because of the cost of war and lack of trade profits.The Dutch were short of security during this time period because of

An Overview of Britain in the Early 20th Century

1253 words - 5 pages An Overview of Britain in the Early 20th Century During the early 20th century in Britain, lives for everyone changed dramatically. The population levels increased. From 1901 – 1911 the population increased from 42 million to 45 million. This meant there was an increase in birth and a decrease in death rates. There were very distinct social divisions. At the top were the upper and upper middle classes. They earned

Why was there such a large number of witch trails in the 17th Century?

1704 words - 7 pages What were the reasons for such a large number of witch trails in the 17th century?Witchcraft has been a fascination through out the centuries. In the 17 century Witchcraft grew from superstition. Witchcraft became the common name for anything unexplained, so anything at all out of place or out of the ordinary was at risk, this is probably one of the contributing factors for such a large number of confessions. This essay shows how and why

Similar Essays

Witchcraft In The 17th Century Essay

863 words - 3 pages Witchcraft in the 17th Century Witchcraft in Europe during the 17th century was common. It mainly took place in Germany, but also took place in England. Witches were associated with evil; it was believed witches inherited magical powers from Satan in exchange for the witch’s soul. Some of these magical powers included outrageous claims such as flying, being able to transform and cursing bad luck on others. It was

Witchcraft In North America Between 17th And 21st Century

2147 words - 9 pages Witchcraft had always fascinated many people and been a very controversial topic in North America during (seventeenth) 17th century. Many People believe that witchcraft implies the ability to injure or using supernatural power to harm others. People believed that a witch represents dark side of female present and were more likely to embrace witchcraft than men. There are still real witches among us in the Utah whom believe that witchcraft is the

Great Britain Rise As The Global Leader Of The 18th Century

809 words - 3 pages opportunity to rise through the ranks. While much of continental Europe was seeking to strengthen their absolute monarchies and centralized style of governing, in the 17th and 18th centuries Great Britain was making significant political changes that reflected the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment. The first of the political philosophers was Thomas Hobbes who first introduced the idea that the monarch ruled not by “divine right” but through the

Commentary On Witchcraft, Magic, And Religion In 17th Century By Richard Weisman

2180 words - 9 pages mind and gain control of them for wrongdoings. An individual can be blinded by evil and can be taken away from God to glorify the Devil. In the book Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts by Richard Weisman, the writer focuses on the origins of witchcraft in the village Salem in the 17th century. Weisman’s goal is to portray the people accused during the Salem trials as ordinary human beings and not witches; therefore