Sociological Criticism Of The Salem Witch Trials

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Register to read the introduction… On October 3, 1692 Reverend Increase Mather denounced the use of spectral evidence in the courts, just five days later Governor William Phipps agreed with Mather and ordered an end to the use of spectral evidence. Later that month Phipps prohibited any further arrests of witches, released many of the accused witches, and dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
Another court was established to try the remaining witches, but that ultimately failed. By May of 1693, Phipps had released those who remained jailed and the Salem Witch Trials were officially at an end.
Since that time numerous apologies have been made. The General Court ordered a day of fasting and contemplation in 1697 in response to the Trials. Samuel Sewall, a member of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, was so moved by this that he publicly confessed to error and guilt. In 1702 the General Court declared the Witch Trials unlawful, in 1711 the colony paid reparations and restored good names to the accused and their families. Finally, in 1957 Massachusetts formally apologized for the Salem Witch Trials.
Socioeconomic and Religious
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The one true comfort for those who came to America was religion. However, the manipulation of religion by those a man who wielded great power in Salem ultimately led to the hysteria that was the Salem Witch Trials.
Puritanism generally extended the thought of the English Reformation, with distinctive emphases on four convictions: that personal salvation was entirely from God, the Bible provided the indispensable guide to life, the church should reflect the express teaching of Scripture, and society was one unified whole . The Puritans believed in strict Bible adherence, therefore passages such as Exodus 22:18, "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," meant exactly what it said kill the witches. Since the Bible lacked an exact definition of what a witch was, it was up to the preacher to determine and inform the lay people of what threat they would be facing.
In October of 1691, after a church committee refused to pay for his firewood, Parris began to focus his sermons on what he described as a conspiracy in the village against himself and the Church. Parris attributed this conspiracy to the evil forces of Satan taking over in the village . Just three months later his daughter came down with unexplainable illnesses and he was among the town's elite that contributed those illnesses to
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Conformity's main ally is fear. Fear is defined as "alarm and agitation caused by expectation or realization of danger." Through the use of fear some of America's most despicable acts have taken place: among these are the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
The preacher of Salem, Samuel Parris, used what at the time scared people more than anything: witchcraft and Satan . He exploited the innermost fears of the villagers that Satan was taking over their village and was going to change their way of life: and all of these events were going to happen, unless something was done. It is out of this thought process that the Salem Witch Trials were

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