Unnecessary Tragedies: The Salem Witch Trials

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During the spring of 1692, a small village in Massachusetts forever changed the course of history. It was during this time when many young girls came forward, accusing a number of the local residents of witchcraft. The girls claimed that these people were being possessed by the devil, and were causing them to act in very strange ways.

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These accusations found locals sentenced to prison, and or dead by ways of public execution. The Salem Witch Trials were a tragic event in history that should have never happened. These events occurred due to the puritans hierarchical belief system. Which made the accused more likely to be tried as a witch because the majority of them were women. Women during this period did not have the same rights as men, and were seen as objects rather than actual people. The atrocities committed during the Salem Witch Trials were made possible due to politics, puritans religion, hierarchical disorder, blackmail, and teen angst.

The Salem Witch Trials was caused by a plethora of different reasons, one specific reason being politics; Or, maybe witchcraft accusations were more grounded in politics than in social tensions, gender bias, or religious belief. It was no coincidence that the outbreak in Salem occurred just as the effects of England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 were filtering into the colonies (Cawthon 1). Politics were a major contributing factor during these times, as accusations were used to gain political power. Or in some cases to regain diminishing political power. Before the Salem Witch Trials it was known that Reverend Samuel Parris power amongst the community was diminishing. So Reverend Parris used the mass hysteria of the witch trials gain back power, as he forced his slave Tituba to admit to being a witch. A man who is on the verge of losing his high ranking status would do anything to stay in power. Such as making up a story about a woman who he doesn’t care much for. Playing on the Puritans belief in witches, knowing it would erupt in panic and chaos. His daughter was even one of the first accusers, so it isn’t too far fetched to believe that he told his daughter to accuse Tituba, and start the Salem Witch Trials. The puritan religion shaped the argument for the Salem witch trials by their hierarchical beliefs. Accusing women as witches was the perfect ploy for a epidemic of mass hysteria as women had little to no rights. Making the accusations of these women being witches all the more believable due to the puritans beliefs. Some may even argue that the puritans were the main cause of the Salem witch trials due to their outlandish beliefs and core values.

The Puritans were one of the leading causes to the Salem witch trials;

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