Salem Witch Trials Essay

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The Salem Witch Trials were a very trying time our young country’s history. While it was a difficult time, there were many diverse causes to the hysteria that gripped Salem in the winter of 1691 and the spring and summer of 1692. It is very difficult to place one’s hand on one particular cause of the Salem Witch Trials, but among the causes of the hysteria were a belief that Satan was acting in the world combined with the fact that God was punishing Salem. The second reason was the idea that Satan actively recruited witches. Third, there was a belief that a person who was “spellbound” exhibited certain symptoms. Fourth, a cause could have been teenage boredom. The fifth reason is the most controversial, and that is the idea of ergot poisoning. Sixth was the idea that those that confessed as witches added credibility to the charges and kept the fires burning. Seventh was just general hysteria, and finally was the arrival of the Quakers combined with an overall decline in faith. There was a strong belief that Satan was acting in the world. There were many things in what was called the “invisible world”. There were diseases like smallpox, natural disasters like floods and droughts, and just general bad fortune contributed to the already busy work of the devil. Walking hand in hand with this was the idea that God was somehow punishing the people of Salem. This time was a time of troubles, not just with an outbreak of smallpox, but with congregational strife in Salem, frontier wars with the Indians, and the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter by Charles II. The congregational strife came out of a dispute between Salem Village and Salem Town. The Putnams formed a congregation “unique from [Salem Town].” The church was led by Samuel Parris, who was married and cared for his daughter, Elizabeth and is niece Abigail Williams. He also

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