Salem DBQ Essay

697 Words3 Pages
Although the charges brought against witches, during the Salem Witch Trials, were based on religion, there was a deeper cause; economic strain. Many of Salem’s Laws were made based on the bible and therefore, deeply religious. The combination of religion, superstition and the second-class status of women allowed for the large amount of older women, who no longer had their husbands to protect them from accusation, to be tried and convicted of witchcraft. The chief demographic for accusation were women between the ages of forty-one and sixty. These women were often rich because of what they had attained through the death of their spouses and remarriage. Women of this age usually had very tired hunched figures and bore scares from their life as working women, giving them a, by today’s standards, very witch-like look. The older women made the perfect scapegoats on which to place the failings of the society. Massachusetts law allowed for the trial of anyone suspected of witchcraft and the juries, being Puritan, were very easy to convince. False testimony also played a big part in the trials, with young men and women coming up with stories of witchcraft and other such heinous crimes. One could easily defend oneself from a crime by blaming another for witchcraft. The population boom, due to the large families produced during the time before the trials, significantly increased the population density in Salem. This greatly decreased the amount of land available per person. The scarcity of land gave the community an air of competitiveness that it had never seen before. What was once a trusting, although very strict, society very rapidly became one of mistrust and disorder. The sudden transformation of Salem was largely due to the lose legal parameters for accusing others of witchcraft as well as the weakening of Puritan values because of the Half-Way Covenant. In this the
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