Salem Witch Trials Dbq Essay

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As we suspected, the majority of female defendants were accused of inflicting their sorceries on only female victims. Out of twenty cases (the gender of the victims was unclear in one of our selected cases, so the population is reduced for this figure), nine female defendants had only female victims. Five were accused of attacking only men, and the other six were accused of affecting members of both gender. Because there were so few values for this particular variable, we did not find it relevant to graph or chart this information. We did, however, feel it necessary to create a frequency chart for this set of data, as it directly addresses one of our hypotheses. The data seems to support the common belief that much of the speculation involved …show more content…

Just as Europe suffered a loss of due process rights (provided by the documents presented by the 4th Lateran Council in 1215) when the Inquisition rose to power, members of colonial Salem, Massachusetts were not provided with the benefits of these rights. For example, only three of the twenty-one defendants in our data set had a witness speak in, rather than against, their favor. The presence of any sort of lawyer or council was not made clear in any of the documents, so it is relevant to believe that the Salem trials followed much of the same procedure as those that occurred during the Inquisition in Europe. Defendants were repeatedly asked similar-sounding questions regarding their alleged offenses, designed to catch a witch in her lies. This practice is incredibly similar to that utilized during the Inquisition. Additionally, both courts made use of the following method described in the Malleus maleficarum: “while he is being tortured, he must be questioned on the articles of accusation, and this frequently and persistently, beginning with the lighter charges-for he will more readily confess the lighter than the heavier. And, while this is being done, the notary must write down everything in his record of the trial - how the prisoner is tortured, on what points he is questioned and how he answers.” There was no presumption of innocence in the Salem trials; one was assumed to be guilty and in need of confession, rather than the plaintiffs being forced to prove the supposed acts of witchcraft performed against them. In conclusion, it is surprising that more defendants were not convicted of witchcraft, given the significant lack of due process rights for the accused and the (obviously) Puritan nature of those overseeing the Salem courts, in which hearsay and heresy went hand in

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