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Salem Witch Studies A Sociological View History Essay

What causes a small town to implode and cause one of the most tragic occurrences in U. S. background? During the summer season of 1692 tensions were high and many people began to separate from the church. Puritan leaders started to worry these were dropping control of the community and wished to prevent change in the demanding social hierarchy. The market leaders wished to ensure that the teachings of the church would be implemented anyone not following chapel was simply accused of being a witch and punished consequently. Witchcraft was considered a crime of treason, and punishment was severe. The Salem witchcraft studies resulted from cultural hierarchy, fanaticism, hysteria, and religious intolerance.

The tests were a means to maintain the rigid social hierarchy. A major source of social tension and discord was brought on by the farmers. The farmers outside town petitioned because of their own minister and because of their own house of worship. That they had two known reasons for their requests. One, these were definately not town, and two these were unsatisfied with town management. Their need was granted and this lead to another parish for the farmers who would no more worship with the stores. Tension increased between the two communities, and the stores were becoming more profitable as the farmers were finding it ever more difficult to produce a living. There is disagreement about the decision of Samuel Parris as Salem Village's first ordained minister. Relating to Marion L. Starkey by deliberately seeking out "iniquitous habit" in his congregation and making chapel customers in good standing suffer general population penance for small infractions, he made a substantial contribution toward the strain within the community, and the bickering in the community continued to grow unabated. In this particular atmosphere, serious conflict might have been inevitable. (The Devil in Massachusetts 26-28)

Another reason for the tests was fanaticism, People became so irrationally consumed by their beliefs that they became easily persuaded that the Devil was tampering with their modern culture. In "Against Modern Sadducism" (1668), Joseph Glanvill said that he could confirm the life of witches and ghosts of the supernatural realm. Glanvill wrote about the "denial of the bodily resurrection, and the supernatural spirits". (1-4) In his treatise, he said that clever men should have confidence in witches and apparitions; if indeed they doubted the reality of spirits, they not only denied demons, but also the almighty God. This fanaticism ruined the heart of the puritan community. Instead of unity, dissension and discontent were widespread. Fear was so rampant that individuals named others as witches before they themselves could be brand. The ironic nature of falsely accusing friends and neighbors and friends was that laying was a sin. This is a community that was pleased with its strict adherence to god's expression so that its people may live permanently in heaven. Those same people were willing to sin and send others to their death to be able to preserve their existence on the planet.

The trials were intended to control hysteria over witches, but instead escalated it because people could now use the tests as a means of handling others. There was no notion of innocent until proven guilty in their laws and regulations, instead puritan law makers noticed that even people of the church could be found guilty of witchcraft. To regulate the spread of witches, a community of vigilance was created to hunt down and prosecute all suspected witches. Not absolutely all villagers decided with the vigilance procedure, Cotton Mather was stressed by this Fanaticism. He thought that the people were to zealous in their pursuit of witches and in their beliefs, and thus they were Hysterical. He explained, " But I am resolv'd after this, to never use but just one single grain of patience with any man that shall go to impose upon me a Denial of Devils, or of Witches. I shall count that man Ignorant who shall suspect, but I shall count him down-right Impudent if he Assert the Non-Existence of things which we've possessed such palpable. "(sec XXXIII) Cotton Mather understood how this irrational thinking multiply the idea of witchcraft on the list of Puritans. This irrationality was common amongst both the people and authorities. People became so vehement that the tests became a way of expressing their values. The trials were the outgrowth with their zealousness. It provided them with an shop to keep up their views and to express their frustration over personal or familial misfortune. Instead of the trials preventing the hysteria, they increased it. They used the witch studies to regain and keep interpersonal control.

Religious intolerance played a major role in the go up of the Salem witchcraft tests. The government bodies used worries of the trials to control individuals and to curb differing views and beliefs. The tests were an instrument to control the people and also to prevent change in the puritan lifestyle. It had been imperative to the authorities that the ridged culture continue to be unchanged. When young adolescent women rebelled against the harsh restrictions positioned upon them by contemporary society, society used the witchcraft studies to maintain control. Practicing witchcraft was ways to release frustrations in the very ridged puritan culture. The studies restrained any views that conflicted with the puritan religion. The slave Tituba exhibited the young girls of Salem tricks and spells a lot like voodoo. This is against Puritan religion since Puritans think that God Doesnt permit people to look into the future. Therefore, the people of Salem put Tituba on trial along with her ideas. This placed an example to the city that anyone practicing different values would be put on trial. The trials were used to squish new ideas that conflicted with puritan ideology. They ensured that the practice of the puritan faith would continue to be unchanged. Thus, the judges used the studies to suppress rebellion and also to keep society dependable.

Social tensions also led to Bridget Bishop being called a witch. For instance, Bridget Bishop aroused general public opinion by putting on scarlet rather than the somber clothes worn by the puritan community. This lack of a rigid obedience to the Puritan Belief's resulted in Bridget being put on trial as a witch. Puritans did not believe in increasing their interpersonal level or expressing different ideas. The chapel used the tests to control folks by injecting fear in them. Thus, the people were dissuaded from straying from puritan belief's and the cathedral continued to be the dominant drive in the community.

The Salem witchcraft studies were triggered by the frustrating need to control the puritan people. The public structure and male dominance could not be permitted to change. The Clergy benefited from witchcraft, it provided them an excuse to place any enemy of the cathedral, meaning a person with differing views, on trial. This led to the building up of the puritan views leaving their population unchanged. Keeping population loyal to the church and the social hierarchy unchanged were the factors resulting in the conception of the witchcraft tests.

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