Downheregirl89's Blog

{August 3, 2010}   Salem Witch Trials Paper part 1

ok so here is my paper that took up my time the past few weeks.

It is your past which defines us today, it is our today which will define our future, and our tomorrow which will change our view of the past

Witch craft has been a part of the human fear for many centeries. Few in the past would have known where the hysteria of witch craft would leaaad future generations to come. During the late 1600s there were many up-heavals in both Europe and the newly colonized lands of North America. During this time we come to a point in history where the fear of the devil and the evils of human nature came into play. A time when neighbor accused neighbor and common sense was laid aside in the name of doing God’s work. It was durring this time frame that a tragedy hit the town of Salem Village. Things that we as americans today would most likely discredit were viewed as truth. A time in which the right to a trial by jury did not exist for those accused. A frame of history when one was not allowed to present evidence which could exonerate themselfs.A time when something as simple as food poisioning could be attributed to a curse said by a “unfriendly” neighbor. It is at this point in time when the ideals and ground work for our modern consititution was laid. Now for a journey back to the American past.

Life in the Salem Village of A.D. 1692 was difficult at best. The town had suffered from the effects of King Williams war. The refugees that migrated from upstate New York, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. Put a even greater strain on the resources of the colonial town of Salem Village ( The village had suffered from the effects of the Indian wars in recent years as well. These causes attrubited in my opinion to the eventual acuations, trials and deaths of so many. By this time the European countries were starting to no longer belive in the witchcraft hysteria. By the end of the trials the witch craft hysteria would also burn itself out of the colonial American society.

The Salem witch trials are a set of trials in American history which did not reflect well on Salem Village which is located in modern-day Danvers, Massachusetts ( The trials were brought on by a set of girls who appaerntly had nothing better to do than accuse their neighbors of doing witchcraft. The witches were typically women, land owners who were disliked for some reason and the social outcasts of the time including the beggers. These trials may have helped shape the laws of today.

The Salem witch trials began in 1692 A.D. when Betty Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams began to have fits of some sort. The first three people accused and arrested were Tituba the slave of Samuel Parris, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn. From June through September 1692, nineteen people had been accused and sent to the gallows for witch craft ( The youngest person to be accused of witch craft was 4 year old Dorcas Good. Who was the daughter of Sarah Good. Dorcas was accused when three of the girls who were accusing the others said that Dorcas’s specter had bitten them. Dorcas was arrested and kept in jail for 8 months ( The Proctors were also accused. John Proctor was openly critical of the witch trials that were going on and was eventually accused then hanged. His wife Eliabeth was also accused and found guilty however she was spared exucution due to her prgnancy ( There is liitle evidence that John Proctor and Abigail Willams were having a affair ass is the case in Author Miller’s 1952 broadway play. They lived over eight miles apart and there was also a sizable age difference between the two, with John being around 60 and Abigail being around 12 at the time ( Another man who was accused was Giles Corry. Corry refused to enter a plea and was crushed to death (

The behavior of the girls could be explained one of two ways. The possible medical causes could have been anything from hysteria brought on by the stress of Indian attacks. However another medical expliantioncould be a disease call convulsive ergotism which could have been brought on by eating rye that had been infected with a fungus called ergot ( Or the girls could have simply been accusing their neighbors out of spite or upon the orders of their parents. Children of the time were taught to “honor thy father and mother” which was based on the dominant christian teaching of the time. However most modern historians think that the charges were brought on by jealousy and boredom.


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