Salem Witchcraft

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In 1630 the Puritans arrived in New England, where they established Massachusetts Bay Colony, a town they named Boston. PBS states that "the Puritans were strict Calvinists, or followers of the reformer John Calvin." There were certain aspects of their lives that were considered stern and unforgiving but were also free to worship as they choose, yet organ and all musical instruments were forbidden. Calvin was teaching his people that God had chosen a few people which was called "the elect." For salvation. No one knew if they were selected or not, which the "Covenant of Grace" contrasted with the "Covenant of Works," was stressed the importance of righteous behavior. Faith, not works, was the key to salvation. (PBS) The Puritans focus was that they wanted to fulfill God's plan, and what ever else God had planned.

In the event when Massachusetts Bay was established, it was known as a man's world. Women did not have a say when it came to the meeting with the churches or even getting involved with the town. Women had little to no right as far as owning property, sign contracts or even conduct business but primarily they were subordinate to their men. Children also were owned by the men of family and it so happened that if there was a widowed that did not remarried, she could own property and perhaps run business. Since women had little power for themselves, it was proven that women were accused of witchcraft.

Women were looked at with a higher view when it came to witchcraft, because men and women were regarded in differently. Depending on how the ideas differed regarding sin was either confessed or denied witchcraft accusations, and by this was the only way of the outcome of the trail. Women would confuse sin with witchcraft because they viewed themselves as inherently evil. But when it came to men thinking they might be sinning they can just repent as if nothing happened to them. It was not just women to become bewitched but even animals could have a curse that when they encountered others, they would become bewitched also.

Salem Witchcraft was known as being "disobedient", without repentance meant that you were a follower of Satan; therefore, your actions reflected the devil's will. Puritans believed that Satan was equally present in the world as God was, meaning that those who committed sins were likely to be witches, as they were devil worshipers. The Salem witch trails started in Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. It was believed that certain people that were witches could harm others with the powers they had. In spring of 1692 a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. When, the young group of girls played a game, is when they all started to lash out, but not all at once. It happened one by one, to where they would suffer "fits" or experience fever, hide under furniture.

No one can explain exactly what was going on, even when they were taken to the doctors to examined, the doctors could not find anything medically wrong with the girls. From epilepsy to mental illness, was not the case that the doctors thought they might have been bewitched. Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn and a slave named Tituba who worked for Reverend Samuel Parris, these three girls were socially outcasted and were accused of witchcraft. The pastor wanted to try a series of prayer, and fasting, while others in the community thought that Tituba bake a "witch cake" that was made of rye grain and dog urine. After finding out the cake, the girls were ordered in the court room to hang the girls. From its first case in June to September 1692, there were a total of 20 "witches" that are convicted sentenced, and executed, 19 by hanging and one Giles Corey was crushed by stones.

In conclusion based on the information that I gathered, the Puritans attitude towards women were straight forward that men had the highest standards not letting the women have a say with the churches or getting involved with the town. It is known that women were the first to be looked at that were considered "bewitched." Despite that Salem witchcraft trials lasted fifteen months, the Puritans were responsible for the trials, but also, they wanted to put fear into their community of witchcraft. Anybody that acted differently then what was expected was reflected as being a witch. The Puritans wanted to keep their organization of the church purified without having the ones that could be suspected as having the Devil in their lives.

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Salem Witchcraft. (2019, Dec 23). Retrieved March 5, 2024 , from

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