In 1692, Salem Massachusetts was going through a very unusual and difficult time. The small town was plagued with a condition known as hysteria. The town's people were at ends with each other over who was a witch, literally tearing the town apart. There were those few citizens who spoke out against the trials, but unfortunately skeptics weren't safe from the accusations and were the first to go. Many people say that the chaos continued because of a few leading officials who in my mind were doing what they had to do to protect their fellow citizens during this most horrific time.
One such individual was Cotton Mather. Cotton was the son of Increase Mather (a leading Boston minister and politician and president of Harvard University). Cotton grew up with a stutter discouraging him from the ministry, he instead went to medical school and became a doctor, a few years later his stutter was corrected and he was able to join the ministry.
Cotton spent most of his life tying to follow in his fathers footsteps as a public man but only partially succeeded. He became am very prolific writer, one of his most influential writings was "Remarkable Providences" which described supernatural occurrences and also helped to continue the Salem hysteria. Cotton was not a huge fan of native Americans saying that they were the "wretched remnant of a race seduced to the Western hemisphere by the devil."(40) Even though many Native Americans were converted to Christianity, they were still seen as devil worshipers by the puritans.
Cotton Mather has been accused by many to be the one who started all of the Chaos, but in actuality he was a most extraordinary man, "living with one foot in two different eras"Carlson(11) so to speak. Cotton documented every peace of...