The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary
University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law
From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials. Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended. Why did this travesty of justice occur? Why did it occur in Salem? Nothing about this tragedy was inevitable. Only an unfortunate combination of an ongoing frontier war, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies can account for the spiraling accusations, trials, and executions that occurred in the spring and summer of 1692.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: Famous Trials, Trial, Witchcraft, Witchhunt, Witch, Witches, Salem, Massachusetts, Puritan, Puritans, Cotton Mather, The Crucible
JEL Classification: K10, K40, K41, K42working papers series
Date posted: October 15, 2007
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