Witch Hunts: The Salem Witch Trials

1145 Words 5 Pages
In the year 1692, unusual and incomprehensible events occurred in Salem Village, Massachusetts, after a group of young girls had sinister episodes. For instance, “they would fall on the floor, shaking and trembling in seizures, or sit and stare off into space, unaware of the world around them. They would cry and shout curses uncontrollably” (Magoon 7). The Puritan settlers in the Salem community grew fearful as more girls became victims of these episodes. The village began to suspect that witchcraft was culpable for these events. Most people today would find what happened in Salem, as a result, to be terribly unjust. The Salem witch trials and their atrocities were made possible by a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, including a chaotic and danger-ridden …show more content…
A witch-hunt is the “searching out and persecution of individuals who are perceived as threats” (Magoon 105). All witch-hunts, then and now, have the aim to seek out individuals for suspicion of committing an offense that is outside of society’s morals. One characteristic of a witch-hunt is that they occur during a time of social mayhem in society, which causes a threat to individuals. For instance, life in Salem Village was arduous at the beginning. Settlers faced many diseases, including smallpox. They suffered crop failure and many more obstacles that were out of their control. When times got hard for the Puritan settlers, they needed someone or something to blame for these pitfalls in their life, resulting in the accusation of individual of witchcraft (Magoon …show more content…
The aftermath of 9/11 would be one such situation. After the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Americans were fearful of Islamic terrorists. Many Americans believed that all Muslims were terrorists, even though the majority were not at all. Police arrested many Middle-Eastern individuals over suspicions of terrorist activities. The numerous accusations against a particular group of individuals after a turbulent period is a significant characteristic in a witch-hunt. According to Robert Rapley, “The most pronounced characteristic of a witch-hunt is that the accused is automatically treated as guilty” (Rapley). In our court system today, we believe that every individual is innocent before being proven guilty. We see the complete opposite of this idea in the Salem witch trials. All people accused of witchcraft were automatically assumed guilty and thrown into

Related Documents