Salem Witch Trials Essay

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In the 1600’s people greatly feared witchcraft and humanity has always persecuted what it fears. In today’s society there are many other things that people fear. The Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, and the Holocaust, are just a few examples of periods in history where people persecuted others because of fear. In 1692, the village of Salem severely feared the Devil and witchcraft, causing them to persecute others as witches. The Salem village was torn by internal disputes between neighbors who disagreed with the choice of Samuel Parris as their first ordained minister. Also, secrets were extremely difficult to keep due to the small town atmosphere. In this small village when an odd incident occurred the people were quick to blame witchcraft. For example, in the play when the minister’s daughter and several other girls were overcome with seizures and moments of unconsciousness, the citizens of Salem instantly held witchcraft accountable for these strange events. During this time in history, this village was swept with mass hysteria that resulted in the execution of 20 people and the jailing of at least 150. Also during this time, religion was an enormous part of the culture. The Puritan belief of predestination caused many problems in this small town society. The town became extremely one sided because of this Puritan religion; what was believed by the church was the law. If anyone strayed away from the beliefs of the church they were most likely considered to be practicing witchcraft; and were then punished (Benet). Next, the 1940s to the 1950s, also known as the McCarthy era; fear of Communism swept America. McCarthyism is a period of history where intense anti-Communist suspension came over the United States. The name McCarthyism was originally meant to criticize the actions of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, but later took on a more general

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