Conflict In American History: The Salem Witch Trials

1001 Words 4 Pages
From the beginning of time there has been conflict between the independent views of different people and their different groups. Such conflict has brought fear and prejudice into communities all around the world. Although conflict plays an inescapable role in any society or civilization, it can be expected to extend to the greatest impact possible. The Salem witch trials, which occurred in the late 1600s, is only one conflict in American history—but an infamous one. Throughout history, numerous people have been scorned, accused, arrested, tortures, put to trial, and even persecuted as witches. Because of social, economic, religious, and physical complications within the community, Salem Village was teeming with panic and intolerance; thus …show more content…
In the examinations of Tituba, Sarah Good, Bridget Bishop, Sarah Osborne and many others, the majority of the interrogation questions were centered on the Devil. In “The Examination of Sarah Good,” the prosecutor or “esquire” asked her questions such as, “…what evil spirit have you familiarity with?” and "Have you made no contracts with the Devil?” Aforesaid questions clearly reveal the base of religion these trials have been built around. The lack of physical evidence and the heavy dependence on intangible, obscured information that had only spiritual value also shows the Salem witch trials’ strong base in religion. Convulsions, spasmodic fits, and “witch marks,” a symbol of interaction with the devil, are only a few examples of the baseless “evidence” they use in the trials. To the ecclesiastical Puritans, who wished to purge themselves and their community of all sin or immorality, unjustifiable evidence like witch marks were enough to rationalize the hanging of a human being, a person of their …show more content…
Understanding the recognition among the New England settlers that witchcraft was prevalent is crucial. Salem was beset with political disputes and internal strife and discord. Land conflicts and personal feuds were common. Some scholars claim that the Puritans felt that they had disappointed God and deserved to be castigated for their sins. Some historians say that the role of the clergy was principally responsible for arousing the people and making them expect compensation; others credit the clergy with ending the whole ordeal. The afflicted girls have been variously described as outright liars, children looking for adventure or excitement, casualties of disease, and genuine believers in the idea that they were victims of witchcraft. The witch trial hysteria definitely could have been quelled faster if the accused had simply lied and confessed to having committed witchcraft; however, their strong religious values rendered the possibility nearly useless. Forced to choose between lying or dying, the 19 who were hanged chose to die rather than committing a sin to God. Rebecca Nurse, who

Related Documents

Related Topics