"The Salem Hysteria" Explains The Events Of The Salem Witch Trials And Why They Occured When And Where They Did.

1375 words - 6 pages

"The Salem Hysteria"How could a society confide in the testimony of young children with no evidence supporting their accusations, such as that as the case with Sarah Good, one of the first of three to be convicted in the Salem hysteria? For anyone to understand this, we must examine the foundation of where this hysteria started. That starting point being the society in which these witch trials took place. With Salem, Puritanism dominated. In the eyes of the Puritans, who sought to purify the English church, believed they must eradicate those who threatened their beliefs, including witches or those such as Anne Hutchinson. Not only that, but the power of superstition plagued the Puritan movement with hearsay and literature that sailed throughout the new world exhibiting stories of witchcraft within other parts of the colonies and England. The Puritans also believed that the devil was just as real as the God they believed in, therefore, witchcraft being a strong possibility to the hardships and what they believed were sins in the society they lived in. To leave out the fact that a possibility of this witchcraft being the backbone of what really happened, and the fact that children wouldn't lie to the ministers of the church, how could such a devastating part of American history have occurred? Well, the diminishing of Salem's social structure made rash the murders of many innocent people. To better understand this, we must look at the time period this occurred, as well as, the economic and social divisions that took place. Also, to examine why such events of the witch trials occurred.What most people don't realize is that Salem Town and Salem Village are two separate identities within the same town, sort of. In 1692, Salem, Massachusetts, had split into two diverse areas. The reason for the split was due to a difference in economic status and class. The residents of Salem Village tended to be in the realm of poor farmers who made their keep from the goods their farms produced. The occupants in Salem Town, however, tended to be wealthy merchants with the town centering itself on sea trade.Not only was there a division between Salem Village and Salem Town, but there also became a division within Salem Village itself. People, who lived near the road that separated Salem Town and Salem Village, indulged themselves in the ever-changing economy by becoming carpenters, blacksmiths, and innkeepers ( Tindall/Shi). Farmers, however, who failed to become a part of this ever-growing opulence, saw the Salem Town's prosperity as a threat to them and their Puritan values. One of the families tied to numerous accusations during the witch trials and one of the first to condemn Salem Town's growing economic status were the Putnams ( Tindall/Shi). To make matters worse, Salem Village had appointed a new minister, Samuel Parris, who had a strict outlook on Puritan values and proclaimed that the new prosperity thriving within Salem Town was the work and influence of the...

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