• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Patrick Ng November 10, 2003 Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism Many things in history can relate in different aspects. The comparison of the Salem Witch trials and McCarthyism are examples of things in history that show similarities. With an analysis of the two historical events, we can see that hysteria was ever-present at the times in which they occurred. It is evident that this hysteria ruined the lives of many people, due to the constant accusations of witches and communists. The events that led up to the Salem witch trails and McCarthyism were also similar. Both events were irrational fears that witchcraft and communism were going to permeate society if drastic measures were not taken. Drastic measures were indeed taken. Both events exhibited mass hysteria within society. It was a time in which all people were involved in persecution. In Salem, it was the witches who were hunted. With McCarthyism, it was the communists that were hunted. With this brief history, we can see a general comparison between the two. ...read more.

Middle

Spectral evidence was testimony from victims that a suspect's ghost like spirit had hurt them" (Zeinert 39). These kinds of things could have led to the hanging of an accused witch, even if the person testifying was providing the courtroom with a false testimony! As a result, many innocent people were not proven innocent. All suspects were, "guilty until proven innocent," as stated in The Salem Witchcraft Trials. They could have been accused solely on their looks, even if they were innocently walking in the streets, minding their own business. According to demographics provided to us, as well as in the book The Devil in Massachusetts, most of the accused witches were poor, elderly women. These unfortunate women weren't affluent enough to "fit in" to society. In addition, women were supposedly more susceptible to Devil encounters: "Women were not as smart as men, and they were greedier. The Devil then could easily get a female to work for him by promising her wealth" (Zeinert 12). ...read more.

Conclusion

Both measures spread fear throughout the area. Neither of the trails was fair. The groups persecuted were singled out, and were obviously underdogs. Many innocent people were proven "guilty" of being witches or communists. Although they did "adjudicate" each accusation, the trials were very biased, and were primarily based on badgering performed by the colonists in Salem, and by Senator McCarthy. Indeed, the Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have similar beginnings and similar results. Such hysteria came about because of the excessive suspicion that was planted in the people's minds, by Parris and McCarthy. The peculiar behavior in Salem and the Russians obtaining an atomic bomb gave some credibility to the situations. Despite this, it was Parris and McCarthy who primarily escalated the hysteria that occurred. Such hysteria may occur today, dealing with the issue on terrorism. Racial profiling and accusations may be prominent in our country once again! If the right events and the right people trigger such a scare, our country could be in a state of mass hysteria as it was two times already. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. How Did it All Begin: The Salem Witch Trials

    The Salem Witch Trials were a result of the breakdown of Betty Harris from tension on her family by the villagers and mass hysteria spreading to the other accusers. The Harris family was under much tension from the villagers because they felt that they should not be giving so much money that Reverend Harris demanded from them.

  2. The Flaws of the Salem Witch Trials

    2, 1692 that, "It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned"("Epilogue" Internet). The most important difference between the Salem Witch Trials and a trial held today is how the decision is reached. Today everyone is entitled to a jury of their peers.

  1. The Salem Witch Trials

    So it began. History in the making, lives changed, and community in turmoil. "Lacking a natural explanation" opened the door for fear. It is in that fear that the Salem Witch Trials took place, along with some well planned politics.

  2. How would you explain the outbreak of witch persecution in New England towards the ...

    They had wanted independence from Salem Town for some time and although they had been given permission to ordain the first minister in 1672, they remained politically dependent. War also had its effects on the inhabitants of New England. 'In 1690 New England had allied with New York in a

  1. Why Did the Salem Witch Hunt Occur Many American colonists brought with them from ...

    One more man of over eighty years was crushed to death under massive stones for repelling to surrender to a trial on witchcraft charges." (Jones, 163) Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months sans trials.

  2. Exploring the importance of religion to the community of Salem

    In chapter 4 Danforth realises that the girls were falsely accusing people but he does not want have his authority undermined by acquitting the remaining people because it would mean that he would have to admit that he was wrong not to believe John Proctor and Mary Warren.

  1. Explore the importance of religion to the community of Salem

    shouldn't have lied he did the right thing in order to save any more people from death. Danforth was the combined authority of church and state, it appears that he's afraid of correcting himself and admitting when he's made a mistake because it would undermine the authority of the court.

  2. The Real Salem Witch Trials

    Tituba is released and sold to a new master. There is no documentation for her after this and we do not know what happened to her. In May 1693, Philips pardons those still in prison on witch craft charges. Five years later The General Court holds a day of fasting and soul-searching for the Salem tragedy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work