What Caused the Salem Witch Trials? DBQ

Topics: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Cotton Mather Pages: 2 (882 words) Published: October 27, 2014

Puritans believed that every word of the Bible was the true word of God and was to be followed to the very last letter. Since the Bible mentions the existence of the Devil and witches, the Puritans were aware and suspicious of misdeeds and unexplained happenings. Once the word of witches tumbles from ones lips, it spreads like a disease throughout the community. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 was the outcome of multiple factors. These factors include jealousy over people, the feel of power/control, and the fear and/or anxiety of their surroundings and the threat of punishment. Jealousy provided fuel towards accusing witches by venting ones emotions onto another. The accusers of the Salem Witch Trials were young girls and one woman, since the afflicted were so young, their own emotions clouded their judgment. For instance, if one of the girls developed feelings for a married man, the girl would become jealous of the wife. To be rid of the wife, the girl would only have to accuse her of witchcraft. That could have been the case because as the majority of the accused, 76 married women were accused of witchcraft out of 176 single, married, and widowed (Document 5). The single women accused could have been associated with or have been friendly towards the person of the accusers’ affections. Additionally, because of the girls being young and impressionable, their parents could have urged them to accuse people of the community or men of valuable goods/land. The few men indicated as witches in the trials could have been at the receiving end of a person’s jealousy or greed (Document 2). The one woman accusing could have condemned others from past grievances or past family disputes. In the town of Salem, the young girls were seen as unimportant. The older women of the community were in charge, and/or, had power over the girls. As thoughts of witches invaded the minds of Salem, they could have been conjuring a way to reverse the power between them and...
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