Salem Witch Trials

1692

What?

The Salem Witch Trials started when young girls said they were possessed by the devil. This caused hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts. They then started to execute those who they suspected to be possessed by the devil and was infected with witchcraft. This was a Puritan community, so they believed that Satan was lurking around. There had been a lot of trouble in Massachusetts with diseases killing people and conflicts with the Indians. This also caused them to believe that Satan was around causing all this trouble for them. This caused them to get rid of those that they believed had witchcraft in them by lynching them. 20 people were hung and 1 was pressed to death.

Why Ended?

The hysteria of people being possessed by the devil and had witchcraft in them started to fade a little while after it had started. People started to become skeptical that there were people who actually were infected with the devil. This was especially clear when those who were rich and wealthy, or well respected members of society were convicted to have been possessed. After this had happened, more and more people didn't believe that there was actually witches in their society and that Satan had been floating around and inflicting this trouble for them. This had ended when the governor was told of an accusation against his own wife. This alarmed him, and he ended up prohibiting trials for. For those already convicted, but not killed, he let them go. This was the end of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts.

Significance?

The significance of the Salem Witch Trials shows how society reacts when faced with a problem. They act in hysteria, and end up blaming something else for their troubles. It can cause a society to become paranoid, and fragile, disrupting the society and social life of the people. Instead of being carefree and living life, they are now constantly worried about if the devil will possess them or someone they know. This causes them to constantly be on edge, whether its with themselves, or with other people. This causes conflicts between the people, because every little thing done wrong could cause someone to believe the devil is inside them and accuse them of being a witch. This paranoia and blaming others cause stratification in the society, making it weak and fragile. It was an important event in colonial America, because it shows one of the first times for widespread hysteria since becoming a colony, and how it had affected the people and their daily lives.
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Salem Witch Trials History Channel

Salem Witch Trials History Channel