Salem Witchcraft Hysteria

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Massachusetts was the location of the Salem Witchcraft hysteria from 1692 to 1693, stemming from uncompromising moral codes and religious beliefs. However, despite problems experienced in farming due to the harsh climate and rugged terrain; Salem also faced political and economic upheavals within the community, during this time. The hysteria commenced when an Indian slave named Tituba was accused of witchcraft by 3 young girls (Roach, 2002). Eventually, under an intense flailing, Tituba was forced to confess of witchcraft to a court official. Tituba's confession ignited a series of witchcraft manhunts leading to women and men being hanged, one man crushed to death by heavy rocks, and 150 more men were held in prison awaiting trail . Ergo, the key concepts included within this essay will be, who were the accusers, what do their fears tell us about the beliefs and society, why did the trials come to an end, and what does the outcome of the trials tell us about the leaders of English society in North America. The story of the Salem Witch-Hunt begins within the household of Reverend Samuel Parris when his daughter became sick, and her cousin fell ill also. The doctor was quick to jump in and diagnose both girls, Betty Parris and Anne(Abigail) Williams, as being “bewitched”. The two girls exhibited fits such as screaming, throwing things around, and contorting themselves in awkward positions (Blumberg,2007). Consequently, Ann Putnan who was 11 years old at the time, was another girl who experienced similar circumstances and her problems were also labeled as being that of the supernatural. Ann was a very intelligent young lady who was well educated with quick wit (Roach, 2002). During the time of the witchcraft accusations, Ann was only 12 years old and very close to a number of other girls who fell victim of the sickness. “When the girls' strange behavior
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