Imagine getting charged for a crime with no solid evidence and having to face the punishments. A set of court trials, that became known as the The Salem Witch Trials, occurred in 1692. The name comes from the village where the trials happened: Salem Village, Massachusetts. Witchcraft accusations became common, and several people suffered to death. Many others were held in jail where some died, and some regained freedom later. Several thought the devil had an association to the possessed humans. Possessed humans acted out and threw fits because of their suspected bewitchment. Majority of the Massachusetts people feared the witches because of the negative associations. The local courts overflowed with abundances of suspected witch cases, to where a new governor had to change the justice system to accommodate all the accusations. Later on, families received payment for the torture placed on their family members. The Salem Witch Trials came about because of religion, politics, and family feuds.
Clearly, religion became a major factor of the Salem Witch Trials. People believed bewitchment to align with powers given by the devil that allow the powered humans to harm others, showing the devil their devotion (Onion). Witches gave off a bad connotation because of the association with the devil. Religious people feared the witches with devil powers because of the dangers they posed to the village in Salem. Claiming magical help from the devil in exchange for their soul, some witches worshiped the devil regularly (Wallenfeldt). Some could have easily become mistaken as a witch because of their religious beliefs. People also thought the devil granted certain people evil powers, that they then used to curse others. Religious associations to witches brought uncertainty into the village and created a panic among the people.
Equally, politics played a major role in the Salem Witch Trials. With all the poor changes that happened while people remained in jail, a forced election to get a new person over the village took place (Sutter). The political powers continued to drive the theories behind witchcraft. By the court forcing a new election, views started to change and victims in jail eventually regained freedom and compensation. One victim believed to have been a witch and accused of witchcraft, was accused just shortly after her husband became part of the village committee (Brooks). Rebecca Nurse, the accused witch, and her husband did not have the same beliefs as the village’s minister, therefore these accusations were supported by the people. The possibility of not having claims against Nurse could have occurred without her husband’s position on the committee. Politics drew attention to certain people for possibly having witch powers, but years later, new government powers took over.
At the same time, family feuds continued to contribute to the Salem Witch Trials. The Putnams and the Porters, two rival families in Salem Village, contributed to the drive of the witchcraft hysteria (“Salem Witch Trials”). Both large families had a desire for control over the village, but they both opposed each other. While the large Putnam family wished to separate from the village with their own land, the Porters focused more on entrepreneurship. According to an article on the witchhunt, one family used it “to get revenge against their neighboring rivals and enemies” (Brooks). The families never agreed since one of them petitioned to become separate. Creating the hysteria within the village divided the people, and created sides. Family differences continued to drive the witchcraft accusations in Salem.
A combination of religion, politics, and family feuds created the year long Salem Witch Trials. Many believed that witches had devil powers granted to them. Political powers changed in an effort to help the village get back to a better standing. Family issues continued to create a wedge between the people in the village. The Salem Witch Trials became a deadly year-long set of trials.