Nothing in history happens as an isolated event. All of time is a continuous cycle of cause and effect, each decision and event leading to another. Eventually all the pieces fall into place to form the landscape of time. It is the job of historians to study this process and determine exactly what each piece of the puzzle is. From the building of the pyramids to America’s war on terrorism, people can eventually trace everything back through time. Of course, attempts to discover the exact causes often lead to controversy. Such is true of events such as the Salem witch trials, very likely one of the most disputed events in all of American history. That is not to say it is unsolvable. In fact, the answer is much simpler than it may seem and
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In the case of the witch trials, the supposedly afflicted often pointed directly to those who rebelled against Puritan values. Those not attending church regularly were often seen as outcasts and, by their logic, those not choosing to side with God had chosen to side with the Devil (Religious Aspects). As if this wasn’t enough, but the first victim of this social purge was Tituba, the slave of well-known Puritan minister Samuel Parris (Hill xx). Parris had been facing a rather divided congregation. The residents of Salem were split between pro- and anti-Parris ideals. The town had recently gone through a series of new ministers one after the other. This time of trial and conflict left Parris vying to maintain his position as Salem minister (Latner). All of these factors together seem to suggest that the initial spark was born of religion. A strict moral code, strong belief in the existence and influence of the Devil, and Parris’ own desire to maintain his place in society strongly suggest that the very first flame began out of religious exaggeration and pursuit of personal interest.
At this point, it is important to note that there may have been another possible factor at play. Many people discredit witchcraft as a true cause for these events. After all, it is not a practice overtly common in American culture, nor do people tend to think of it as more than a game or cultural trend. In a sense, an understanding of witchcraft requires an acknowledgment of some