The Salem Witch Trials: The Struggle For Young Women

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“Speak only when spoken to.” These words are something that many women have heard throughout history. They have heard it from their parents, their husbands, and their brothers. It is a phrase that is intended to belittle women and silence them when they are not in the privacy of their own homes. In a time and place where young girls were taught that freedom and individuality were privileges that they were not able to enjoy, it is easy to see how the search for a voice and attention could have negative consequences. In 1692, several young girls in Salem, Massachusetts took this search too far. Due to the lack of scientific knowledge at the time and the fact that historically Europe experienced many witch hunts, it is understandable how the townspeople of Salem would jump to conclusions about what was really going on. Although there is evidence that the Salem witchcraft hysteria was caused by the physical state of the girls, who were supposedly possessed but likely poisoned, the most likely cause of the hysteria in the late 17th century was a power struggle for young women who were bored and curious. The girls who were thought to be “possessed” in Salem were preadolescent children who were plagued…show more content…
There was disease, and the townspeople faced crop failure and hunger. Throughout history, whenever times have gotten challenging or a country is at war, people’s psychological need to distract themselves or find a scapegoat has led to many witch hunts. It was effortless, almost instinctive, for the people of Salem to jump to the conclusion of witchcraft because of historical witch hunts throughout Europe in the 14th through 17th centuries. History was on the side of the accusers when it came to right and wrong during the Salem witchcraft trials. The fact that it was natural for the people in Salem to jump to the conclusion of witchcraft only added to the perfect storm that was Salem in
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