Salem Witch Trials Dbq Essay

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The Salem witch trial hysteria of 1692 may have been instigated by religious, social, geographic and even biological factors. During these trials, 134 people were condemned as witches and 19 were hanged. These statistics also include 5 more deaths that occurred prior to their execution date. It is interesting to look into the causes of this stain on American History, when as shown in document B, eight citizens were hanged in only one day. Religion was a very strong influence in the lives of Puritans as they followed a very strict moral code and based their entire lives on their faith. Most Puritans were taught from the Bible that "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Doc. A), which explains why the witch scare was taken so seriously and why the accused were punished so harshly. They believed and feared that "evil spirits were all around" (Doc. C) as noted in Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions by Cotton Mather, who at that time was a reputable expert in the "invisible world." It seems strange to 21st-century dwellers that people believed that witches could be identified by marks of the devil, as portrayed in an 1853 painting by T.H. Matteson (Doc. D). Today, it is frightening to imagine that people accused others of “bewitching your first husband…show more content…
N) also brings up the possibility of a fungus called ergot triggering the hysteria of 1692. Ergot grows on cereal grains and can be poisonous which was a “common condition resulting from eating contaminated rye bread” back in the seventeen hundred´s. Ergot is believed to have affected the accusers by causing symptoms such as “crawling sensations, tingling in the fingers, vertigo and hallucinations”. To better understand how ergot played a role in the Salem witch hysteria, an additional document listing how much rye and other cereal grains were consumed during the year 1692 would help determine a
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