Fluctuation Of Witchcraft, Witch-Hunting, And Politics In Early Modern England

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The general public of England was bereft about the possibility that the Devil would take over their lives and in so doing would bring about the downfall of England in the religious and political centers. So, they sought out those few who in their country were stirring up “schemes”; mainly the men and women that they believed were witches. In Peter Elmer’s book, Witchcraft, Witch-Hunting, and Politics in Early Modern England, he focuses on the political and religious atmosphere of early modern England and how this affected the fluctuation of witchcraft persecutions and eventually the demise by the 17th century.
It is important to note that Elmer, is following a long line of authors who have written about the political emphasis of witchcraft,
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The first presently being the lull in witchcraft persecution during the reign of Charles the I. The lull however, does not mean there is not a belief in witchcraft, and this can be seen in the masques that were held in Charles I court which featured the forces of evil, such as witches. The lack of witch hunts during Charles I reign could be because of his belief that he was thought of himself as divine and charismatic that his populace would not be infested with witches and demons because his kingdom was in fact perfect. However, it is not known for sure why there was this lull so it puts the reader in speculation if this was the actual case. Once the Civil Wars began a whole new form of witchcraft began to take shape in the form of language. Both sides lobbied that each other and their doings was that of witchcraft. For example, a royalist declaration by Thomas Vaughan stated “‘a Witch is a Rebel in Physicks, and a Rebell is a Witch in Polliticks’ for ‘one acts against Nature, the other against Order [and] both are in League witht eh Devill as the first father of Discord and Sorcerie’” Witchcraft was the explanation of why many people chose the wrong side to fight for and to spread this news both sides used preachers and pamphleteers to spread the word. The use of word became a powerful political weapon during the Civil …show more content…
The unique conditions of East Anglia that of not being touched by the civil war and the heightened tensions of religion created a dramatic rise in witch persecutions. However, it depended on the elite or what the threat was to determine if the Puritans would actually act on these witch hunts. So, the belief that puritans were the main source of witch-hunting and persecution is nullified during this time. The Hopkins Trials were established as a “landmark” in the history of English witchcraft because of the fact that there was a consensus from all preachers allowing for witch trials to flourish. In chapter 4, Elmer mainly focuses on how some religious groups such as the Quakers, were in fact a sort of Trojan horse where blame could be laid and where the Anglican Church could promote their own interests and he mainly draws off of Robert Filmer and Thomas Ady for his analysis. This chapter is mainly a filler chapter that does not need to be added because it lacks original critiques and thoughts by

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