Salem Witchcraft Trials Flashcards, test questions and answers
Discover flashcards, test exam answers, and assignments to help you learn more about Salem Witchcraft Trials and other subjects. Don’t miss the chance to use them for more effective college education. Use our database of questions and answers on Salem Witchcraft Trials and get quick solutions for your test.
What is Salem Witchcraft Trials?
The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 are one of the most notorious events in American history. The trials took place in colonial Massachusetts and resulted in the execution of twenty people accused of practicing witchcraft. Over 150 others were accused, but not put to death. The trials have been studied for centuries as an example of how religion, superstition, and fear can lead to terrible injustice.The first sign of trouble occurred when two young girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, began exhibiting strange behavior such as screaming uncontrollably and contorting their bodies into odd positions. A doctor was called to examine them but could find no physical cause for the symptoms. Fearing that it might be supernatural forces at work, the community called on a local minister named Samuel Parris to investigate further. He concluded that there must be witches at work in Salem Village and this led him to accuse three women of being witches: Sarah Goode, Sarah Osbourne, and Tituba (an Indian slave).In response to these accusations a special court was set up which began hearing testimonies from witnesses against those accused as witches. Often these testimonies were based on hearsay or superstition rather than evidence that could be proven true or false beyond reasonable doubt in court today. Thus many innocent people were convicted based on flimsy evidence or even outright lies from other villagers who had personal vendettas against the accused witch(es). Those who confessed they had made a pact with Satan avoided execution but still suffered social ostracism (being excommunicated from church) which effectively ruined any chance they had at having a normal life again within their colonial society. The Salem Witchcraft Trials ended shortly after putting twenty people to death but unfortunately its legacy lives on today with many modern historians citing it as an example of how ignorance can lead to terrible mistakes when dealing with matters concerning justice and morality in society overall.