The Salem Witchcraft Trials occurred because of the depth of Salem Puritans' belief in witchcraft and the devil.

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Salem Witchcraft Trials

Thesis Statement

The Salem Witchcraft Trials occurred because of the depth of Salem Puritans' belief in witchcraft and the devil.


The Salem Witchcraft trials started in 1692 resulting in 19 executions and 150 accusations of witchcraft. This was the biggest outbreak of witchcraft hysteria in colonial New England. The trials began because three young girls, Betty Parris, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam began having hysterical fits, convulsions and terrifying visions after being caught engaging in forbidden fortune telling. The doctors couldn’t diagnose the condition, so the puritans termed it as supernatural or witchcraft. People in Salem started believing in gossip, rumors, intangible and spectral evidence given by villagers to accuse witches. They had a blind faith in god and believed that god punishes the sinners. The main reason for the trials was superstition, an irrational belief resulting from ignorance or fear of the unknown.


Church ruled the puritan society in New England. Most people in Massachusetts were strict Puritans. They wanted to establish - “City upon a hill”, a model society for the world to follow. They believed in building a community, which respects the vision of God. It was against the law not to attend church. The Puritan lifestyle was restrained; rigid and believed that all sins are punishable by threat, exile or execution.  They also believed the Devil was as real as God. Satan would select the weakest individuals—women, children and the insane to carry out his work and those who followed him were witches. There was a lack of logical and scientific reasoning. Reverend Samuel Parris quotes in his sermon that there are devils as well as saints in the church and the sinners would be punished by the wrath of god.

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The first women to be accused of witchcraft in Salem were seen as different and as social outcasts: Tituba, a slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, a sickly old woman who married her servant. These women were unpopular and it was easy to point fingers at them. Gossips and rumors were enough to accuse them.

Tituba was a dark skinned slave who lived in the household of the Reverend Samuel Parris. She was familiar with the West Indian Voodoo and practicing magic. In the evenings Tituba entertained little Betty and her cousin Abigail Williams by the ...

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