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A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

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Mrs. Le Andra

English 925

January 2018

The salem witch trials Event / era – salem witch trials

Time – between February 1692 and May 1693

Place – colonial Massachusetts

Event summary

The trials took place in colonial massachusetts. A few young girls were claiming to be possessed by the devil and suspicions began to grow. This caused many people to grow frantic and in order to settle this franticness, a special court was built to hear the trials of the women accused. The first of many accused witches being Bridget Bishop.

By September 1692, the franticness had begun to die down and public opinion turned against the trials. Though trials still took place and many families were given immunity, due to their importance in society. bitterness lingered, and the legacy of the Salem witch trials would live on for centuries.

Key players – The people of massachusetts were arrogant, set in their ways, wrongdoing and unaware of what was really happeningBridget bishop was outcasted, prone to gossip, “an outrageous dresser”, known to be honestTibia – brave, outspoken, independent, gossipy.

Discussion questions – Why did the girls claim to be possessed? Why hang men? Where did the belief do witches come from?

Turning point – I think the turning point would be when tibia confessed and named other innocent “witches” causing them to be hanged.

Turning point explained – most of the people accused swore they were never witches and then denied their supposed gilt. But tibia was the first of many “witches” to claim they were a witch. Many think she was trying to in a way save herself from rotting in jail and just heading to the gallows, but I believe she was trying to save her family and not being a coward. Even though she was hanged for her “crimes” she will be known as brave.

For the fears of attacks from neighboring Native American tribes and a longstanding rivalry with community of Salem Town ,witch they feared was better , the Salem witch trials would be fueled by residents’ suspicions of witchcraft and the resentment held toward their neighbors, as well as their fear of outsiders, and the independence of women. For it was known that women were weaker and more prone to sin. Most of the people accused were outsiders in the community and were thought to be different.

I believe that the salem witch trials were just a reaction of the people of massachusetts reacting to people being different. three accused witches were brought before the magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne even as their accusers appeared in the courtroom in a grand display of spasms, contortions, screaming and writhing. Though Good and Osborn contradicted their guilt, Tituba, who was another accused witch ,confessed. Likely seeking to save herself from certain conviction by acting as an informer, she claimed there were other witches acting alongside her in service of the devil against the Puritans. Those who she named were soon accused and hanged. Like Tituba, several “witches” confessed and named others, and the trials soon began to overwhelm the justice system and the townspeople.

In May 1692, the newly appointed governor of Massachusetts, William Phips, organized the establishment of a special Court to decide on witchcraft cases for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties. The accused being presented to judges including Hathorne, Samuel Sewall and William Stoughton, the court handed down its first conviction, against Bridget Bishop, on June 2; she was hanged eight days later on what would become known as Gallows Hill in Salem Town. Five more people were hanged that July; five in August and eight more in SeptemberIn January 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting for the tragedy of the Salem witch trials; the court later deemed the trials unlawful, and the leading justice Samuel Sewall publicly apologized for his role in the process. The damage to the community lingered, however, even after Massachusetts Colony passed legislation restoring the names of the accused and providing financial restitution to their families in 1711.

Indeed, the vivid and painful legacy of the Salem witch trials endured well into the 20th century through plays, books, and movies about this painfully, shamed event in american history.

Works Cited

User, Super. “Bridget Bishop.” Famous Trials, www.famous-trials.com/salem/2043-bridget-bishop.Wallenfeldt, Jeff.

“Salem witch trials.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, inc., 11 Dec. 2017, www.britannica.com/event/Salem-witch-trialsHistory.com

Staff. “Salem Witch Trials.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2011, www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials.

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