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Lecture 7

ECN 340 Lecture 7: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

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ECN 340
Thomas Barbeiro

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 14 women and 5 men put to death, 18 hung, one crushed to death Dissension in Salem Village. One group wanted own church Lack of government, making it impossible to resolve conflict through the law courts (Third party impartiality) Much belief in magic (Diving the future) Church against practice of magic and condemned those that practiced magic (witchcraft). Church equated magic with the devil (evil). In Europe over 100,000 mostly women, had been executed for witchcraft Samuel Parris came to Salem and spearheaded a new church Strong feelings for an against Parris In early 1692 young girls in Parris household began to act strangely Local doctor concluded that the afflicted girls were the victims of witchcraft All the afflicted girls were in the side of Parris Tituba, a slave, Confesses to practicing witchcraft Soon the afflicted young women began to accuse more women of witchcraft Did Tituba contribute to accusation of more women? Afflicted girls accuse some of those apposed to Parris congregation Trials were held in which confessions were sought Since the Church was against witchcraft, those that accused innocent people must have felt they were on Gods side By mid 16922 the jails in Massachusetts were full of accused witches A kind of mass hysteria had taken hold Those that confessed (for a while) were not executed. This led to more and more confessions (in hopes of saving their lives) By sept 1692 the afflicted began to accuse prominent citizens In late 1962 laws were changed making it more difficult to convict the accused witches Tide of opinions changed and the accused not yet executed were pardoned McCarthyism in the early 50s accused communism Few willing to defend the accused communists because one could easily become accused themselves Few willing to pay the price to speak up for the accused Cost of speaking up was too high The play the crucible by Arthur Miller, has the witch hunt of the McCarthy era as its theme Economics of witch hunts has the following attributes: 1. There is conflict between groups. One group imposes cost on the other group by accusing them of evil 2. Opinion turns against the accused and no one is willing to speak up for fear of also being accused. The individual MC of fear outweigh the MB of saving accused
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