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Salem Witch Trial Dbq

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From the beginning of time there has been conflict between the views of different people and their different groups. Conflict has brought prejudice and fear into communities around the world. As conflict is an inescapable part of any society, it can be expected to extend to the greatest impact possible. The Salem Witch Trials are one such conflict. This conflict caused many to be accused, arrested, and killed. When sickness or even misfortune came, the most sensible reason was witchcraft.  Because of political, religious,and social problems within the community, Salem Village was present with prejudice and panic causing the Salem Witch Trials.

Political problems in Salem lead to an increase in hysteria. The first theory can be jealousy and vengeance in families. According to Document M, “Topsfield authorities had for years been harassing the Putnam family by claiming that parts of their lands actually lay in Topsfield rather than in Salem Village”. Both Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum agree that tension between families caused many individuals to be accused and later killed intentionally. Also, “(Salem Village) was divided between supporters of Porter and Putnam families...Porters enjoyed political prestige...Putnam (farmers) lived in Salem Village’s less fertile western half, had little chance to share in Salem Town’s commercial expansion...lost the political influence” (Doc J). For many years, Salem Village tried to gain independence from Salem Town, but  “there was also a division within Salem. Those who lived near Ipswich Road, close to the commerce of Salem Town, were merchants. They prospered and supported the economic changes taking place. The farmers who lived far from this prosperity believed the worldliness and affluence of Salem Town threatening  their Puritan values” (Doc I). One of the main families to denounce the economic changes was the Putnams—a strong and influential force behind the witchcraft accusations. Tensions became worse when Salem Village selected Reverend Samuel Parris as their new minister. Parris was a stern Puritan who blamed the worldly ways and economic prosperity of Salem Town as the Devil doing. His rhetoric further separated the two factions within Salem Village. It is likely that the jealousies and hostilities between these two factions played a major role in the witch trials. It is not surprising that Reverend Parris was a vigorous supporter of the witch trials, and his impassioned sermons helped fan the flames of the hysteria. In Doc. E, it shows that most of the accused witches were older married women; and the accusers were younger single women. This shows that the accusers could have been jealous of the married women, so they accused them to steal their husbands. Also, “the apparition of Rebecca Nurse did fall upon me and almost choke me” (Doc L). In her deposition, Ann Putnam Sr. is trying to accuse Nurse Rebekkah of being a witch. She wants to ruin her reputation, so her family can continue being a powerful family. Document B, was written to document the deaths chronologically. The hangings are conducted in groups and they get bigger over time. The main idea of the court record is to show an increase in hysteria. Ann Putnam Jr. “saw the apparition of Goody (Rebecca)



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