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Salem trials Essay

The Salem Witchcraft Trials was brought on by some young women. They accused many different people of performing witchcraft. Those who said they were innocent were killed and those who said they were guilty were used to help find more witches.

Lyle Koehler says “Yes” in his book,” A Search for Power: The ‘Weaker Sex’ in Seventeenth-Century New England.” He believes that women wanted more power, so they pretended to be possessed by witches. He says its best understood from the perspective of different relationships in a puritan society where the female accusers exercise a search for power (246). Lyle points out that three-fourths of the accused were female, but also 28 men were related to the women. The accusers were seeking to overcome their own feelings of personal powerlessness by speaking out in the world they lived in. These women greatly accepted the power they received from court officials to overcome the supernatural forces.

Laurie Winn Carlson says “No” in her book, “A Fever in Salem: A New Interpretation of the New England Witch Trials.” She believes that the witchcraft hysteria in Salem was the product of people’s responses to physical and neurological behaviors resulting from an unknown epidemic (246).

No. I believe that the Salem witchcraft trials were not a product of women empowerment. The trials were caused by a fear of witchcraft. Although more women than men were accused, there were men tried and executed too. Women were thought to be more susceptible to the influence of the devil than men were, being spiritually weaker than men, but men could fall under suspicion as well. Altogether, at Salem, fourteen women and six men were executed, which is fairly typical of the numbers executed overall during the centuries of witchcraft persecutions. Witchcraft trials tended to be triggered by tense social situations, wars, epidemics, and bad harvests were all events that could trigger persecutions. And Salem in the 1690s was in a perilous situation, poised, so the inhabitants felt, on the very edge of civilization, with Indians liable to attack at any time.


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