Puritan Women And Witch Hunts In The Salem Witch Trials

2379 Words10 Pages
Throughout History, women have long struggled and fought for the same equality, justice, and rights as males in society. Historians have two opposing views of what life was like in Puritan society. One side argues that Puritan society was a golden age for women as they worked alongside their husbands, had an important role in the household. However, opposing historians argue that Puritan women were inferior to men in the society for five main reasons. Women were inferior because they were supposed to be silent company, they only received half the inheritance of their brothers, they were meant to have and take care of the children, they received harsher punishment for their wrongs, and they had to follow strict rules. The most significant way…show more content…
The Puritans found many useful reasons for the witch hunts to take place both psychologically, sociologically, and within criminology. Witch hunts have often spewed from the need for deviance, social control. Witch hunts throughout history have similarly had common theme of being instances in history where extreme behavior where an “evil is constructed, identified, and persecuted”. Most importantly, the witch hunts were often carried out by formal authorities within and the society. In Salem the conditions of the Puritan society were ideal for and gave way to witch hunts; the society contained disease, hardship, and distal war threats. Many historians refer to the time period of the Salem Witch Trials as the “perfect storm” within Puritan Society as the harsh living conditions give way to such severe, unforgiving undertakings. These conditions and their result are what cause many historians to look beyond the hysteria and realize the underlying reasoning behind the trials. The Salem Witch Trials were the last major witch hunts of the early modern era because people finally began to realize that these harsh reactions to maintain social control were extreme, unnecessary and inhumane. As historians further…show more content…
Meaning, this is a time period where human intellect is more advanced than it has ever been previously. Identifying this fact allows one to realize that attributing the trails to “magic, traumatic military violence, hallucinogenic mushrooms, collapsing Puritan epistemology and semiotics” simply does make sense. This lead to an investigation by historians as they realized that because of the time period that it took place, there is no doubt that the Salem Witch trials had to be about something other than witches, demons, superstitious clergy and hysterical children. When first identifying the trials all one may see if a series of events that precipitate a certain outcome. However, when looking at the reasoning behind such events is where the true answers and mystery lye. What is interesting to many historians is the juxtaposition of the entire situation as a completely irrational event takes place, which such precision and analytic apparatus. The fundamental lifestyle of Puritan society are what led to the trials, men needed a way to suppress and ensure that women would maintain their current place in society and not try to step out of line. The trials enabled men to enforce their authority and power by instilling fear in women so that they would no longer be a threat because of fear of being accused of being a witch. However,
Open Document