The Salem Star
When the news broke in 1692 about witches, Salem fell into a fit of hysteria. The Puritan based colony lost all control and was on a literal witch hunt. After the reformation of the Puritan Church and establishment of the Half Way Covenant, ideas of the devil's presence intensified. Women became the majority of the members and the scapegoat for the Witch Trials. Girls like Abigail Williams were tried for suspicious behavior that indicated the devil's work. Many people-men, women and children alike- were tried after being accused of witchcraft. At the end of the year of persecutions, twenty people had died. Of those twenty, nineteen were hung, and one poor, demon possessed soul was pressed to death. Additionally, two dogs were hung at the end of it all.
When Massachusetts was first founded, it was a royal charter called the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The governor of the colony was royally appointed. Colonists came to Massachusetts for religious freedom. Puritans were free in the New World to practice their Protestant beliefs unlike in England.In 1692, the pattern of religious freedom continued effecting how the government was operated. While there wasn't a direct theocracy in place, the government was ran as such. During the Witch Trials, the Puritan ministers led the way on the melodramatic witch hunts spreading the hysteria quickly.
A Tale of Two Salems
At this time, there were two divisions of Salem: Salem Town and Salem Village. The economic and class differences were important factors in the Salem Witch Trials. Anyone who lived in or closer to Salem Town became involved in the market economy and were practiced blacksmiths, carpenters, and innkeepers. Inhabitants of Salem Village were poor farmers who fought rocky soil. These two parts of town faced economic and social tensions due to the merchants success. The subsistence farmers were more likely to accuse girls from merchant families of being witches. The Puritans who lived in Salem Village felt that Salem Town was a threat to their beliefs and began denouncing the merchant's ways.