correction…punishment of the aforesaid persons for their said offences and crimes” (DocumentB2). The fact that the highest ranking power in religion acknowledged the existence of witchesled to the whirlwind of accusation and pandemonium.Ultimately, all three religious leaders had a strong influence on the people’s beliefs. Theyare obviously biased towards their cause, and therefore are not necessarily believable or reliablein their observations. They basically scared the people in order to gain loyalty and a following.Their effect is exhibited in Document B5, a diary entry of a young Protestant boy, dated in thelate 16
Century. He basically states his fears of the devil and hell, as a result of the beliefsinstilled into his head by religion. This is reliable because a diary entry generally shows trueemotions and beliefs.Socially, we see that Europe held many prejudices, mostly against older women. InDocuments D1, D2, and D3, we can derive that most of the accused were poor (laborers andfarmers, D1), elderly (D3), females (D2). The studies are definitely reliable as they are academicstudies of the time period. About 80% of the accused were women, and most were over 55 yearsof age, showing that they were powerless. In Document C1, W. Fulhecke states that “The bodiesof aged persons are impure…by the Devil whetted for such purpose to the…destruction of others”. Kramer and Sprenger, two Dominican Monks, took it a step further and stated thatwomen are the target because they are weaker and are formed at the very core from sin(Document B1). These both show the obvious bias towards women, especially the elderly. Theaccusations towards the witches mainly occurred as a result of the people observing theunexpected or unknown. For example, in Document A1, Walpurga Hausmannin, a midwife andwidow, was tortured into confessing to lust, adultery, and death of her children. As a result of thechildren dying, the people immediately suspected witchcraft. This testimony is not very reliableas she was tortured and when people are tortured, they have a tendency to lie. Also, in Document
Unformatted text preview: Salem Witch Trials DBQ In the 1600s, Protestant Christians known as Puritans, immigrated to New England to avoid the church in England; Puritans arrived in hopes of improving Christianity and doing more service to the Lord. Meanwhile, the gap between the expectation of a united community and a diverse society led to a difficulty in which New England could not accept. Between the Puritans ideology that everything in the Bible was true, and the gap between a cohesive community and the reality at a diverse community led to widespread hysteria in New England; hysteria, however, was most substantial in Salem, Massachusetts. Due to the integration of confined religious beliefs and the acceptance of spectral evidence, the Salem witch trial hysteria of 1692 became a historical phenomenon that reflected the issues of social pressures, gender roles, intolerance for satanic powers. With intentions of proving themselves to God and reviving Christianity, Puritans based their beliefs off of the existence of the Devil and witches mentioned in the Bible; Puritans wanted to punish anyone who had the slightest involvement in witchcraft.Not only were Puritans fundamentalists, but they also strongly believed in predestination, the idea that God chooses who will go to Heaven or Hell. This motivated the Puritan community to become a role model for other societies. Because the people in Salem had no tolerance for any sign of the Devil or witches existence, accusations arose and those convicted were put in jail or to death. According to King James version of the Bible, Exodus 22:18, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18 is implying that people should have zero tolerance for witches; this justified the execution of witches because they were not allowed to live. Any being indicating the use of satanic powers were to be convicted of witchcraft and killed. From Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions, Cotton Mather stated, These evil spirits are all around. ..Go tell mankind, that there are devils and witches. ..New England has had examples of their existence. ..and that not only the wigwams of Indians. ..but the house of Christians. ..have undergone the annoyance of evil spirits. Mather portrayed an important role in the Puritan society because he was one of New Englands leading ministers and intellectuals. Puritans read and took Mathers words into consideration; Mather had a intellectuals....
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