Abigail Williams and How She Contributed to American History

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Leanna Lee
Professor Smith
American History I
January 31, 2013
Abigail Williams
Abigail Williams was a suspicious 11 or 12 year old girl who was the leading cause of the Salem Witch Trial hysteria. There is not much background information on her, but as far as history goes, Abigail was born 1680 and lived with her Uncle Samuel Parris’ family, who was the head Reverend of Salem, Massachusetts at the time. “Although it was ordinary practice for young girls to live with relatives to learn about housewifery, we know very little about Abigail, including where she was born and who her parents were.” (Yost, 2002) In an indirect way, Abigail has contributed to American history being that she was the main cause of the Salem Witch Trial accusations. The 6th amendment of the American Constitution was highly influenced by the Salem Witch Trials. With the 6th amendment, the accused are entitled to have a witness, an attorney for their defense, and will be heard before a jury in court. The Salem Witch Trials affected the way America viewed reliable evidence used in court cases because they stopped using spectral evidence. During the Witchcraft trials, the only evidence available was hear-say information from the girls who were “afflicted.” More than 45 innocent people were killed, because the court believed Abigail and the girls without looking into further detail about the spoken "witches." Nowadays, the accused are able to have a witness with them as well as some one who will look into their case and use accurate evidence to prove their innocence "until proven guilty."
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