The Causes of the Salem Witch Hunts of 1692

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There are many theories as to what actually caused the Salem Witch hunts with dozens of them being somewhat applicable. However one thing that is clear is that it erupted and escalated because of fear. One main reason is the extreme Puritan religion. Another cause was the feud between Salem Village and Salem Town. The last main cause was the adolescent girls’ fits. However it was a combination of all of these in the right conditions that cause the madness that occurred.

The first main cause of the witch hunts is Puritanism. Salem was mainly a Puritan community and people were afraid of witchcraft. Also, it seemed to become most prominent when there is great fear in society including the 1604 outbreak in Scotland in 1604. This directly relates the fear in a society to the supposed witchcraft occurring in a society. Puritans and other peoples believed that witchcraft was used by the Devil to attack Christ, therefore it was illegal to practice it.

Witches were hanged in England and New England and Burnt in Scotland and America.

The second main cause of The Salem Witch Hunts was the feud between Salem Village and Salem Town. Salem Village was smaller and did not have its own Church and so the local population had to walk from the village 10 miles to the town. This was only one of the reasons that the village wanted independence. Another was the wealth, status and power that the Porter Town merchants had. The village also had a sort of paranoia of outsiders, it was seen that it was the village versus the town based on fear. The economic and political differences of these groups also sparked great conflict between them. Because of these reasons Salem Village wanted independence and the town would not succumb. Parris was the “saviour” of the village and this was the catalyst of the manic witchlike accusations.

Another main cause of the Salem Witch Hunts was the Girls and their fits. These fits sparked the Salem witchcraft tragedy in motion which began the fear in the society. The first began as the girls began experimenting with magic with Parri’s slave Tituba. The doctors started to blame some diseases and diagnosis that they did not know on the “evil hand” or namely witchcraft. The slack authorities and the girls’ parents did not put an end to the madness so it soon escalated with the controlling adults choosing to accept witchcraft. Parris also accepted the accusations making reference to the Devil in his speeches. The girls that were making the accusations were in there adolescent years and there were few young boys to distract the girls. Also, it was peer pressure that the girls continued and did not stop. It is amazing that these girls caused the deaths of people yet there fathers did not put them straight.

In conclusion there are a few main reasons for the Salem Witch Hunts. These include Puritanism and the Puritan minister Parris. Another cause was the feud between Salem Village and Salem Town which created the mad witchcraft accusations. Lastly, the adolescent girls’ fits which were definitely another reason for the Witch Hunts.

Word Count: 541www.mb-soft.com/believe/txc/puritani.htmwww.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/purdef.htmwww.nationalgeographic.com/salem/