Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, this podcast discusses how the Salem Witch Trials began and features guests Susan Castillo-Street, Simon Middleton and Marion Gibson. The Puritans immigrated to America in an attempt to obtain religious freedom. They were a group of people that had fought hard and come through great hardship in order to practice their religious beliefs. Puritan beliefs centered on the concept of predestination, the idea that God’s elect are chosen by him at birth. This belief that only a few are chosen, as well as the precarious physical and political position of the Salem settlement, created an atmosphere of unrest and fear that allowed baseless accusations to be seriously considered.
Puritans lived in a constant state of unease, not knowing who may or may not be chose by God. They were constantly unsure of their spiritual fate. Along with their individual concern, the Puritan sect believed that salvation depended upon the faith of the community. Salvation was not based on actions, but instead relied on belief as an individual and as a community. The Puritan’s core Calvinist beliefs allowed for the existence of curses and spirits. Often, the accused admitted to practicing witchcraft even if they were innocent. They believed that they may have committed a sin that allowed Satan to practice witchcraft through them. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Along with spiritual unrest, the Puritans were constantly afraid for their safety in the American wilds. Attacks by Native Americans were common and the pilgrims lived in a continuous state of physical insecurity. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here].Some of those who accused their neighbors of practicing witchcraft has in fact been victims of violence and even kidnapping by neighboring Native American tribes. Invasion by the British was also a threat, making their political future unsure.
One of the biggest questions about the trials is why these accusations were believed in the first place. By studying the Puritan’s religious beliefs as well as their political and physical positions at the time, one can see how things got out of control. A sort of mass paranoia was created by the combination of these elements, allowing for inconceivable, baseless suspicions to be taken seriously. Religious fervor, combined with fear and confusion, created an atmosphere where these accusations were able to run wild.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Tillotson, S. (Producer). (2015, November 21). The Salem Witch Trials. In Our Time.