Phenomenon Of The Salem Witch Trials
Nowadays, America is the top country in the world. The U.S keeps developing day by day. When someone talks about America, people know it as a big country, has a good education system, and strong economic. But how many people know about Americar’s history? How many people know what America experienced to be so strong as today? Before America became so strong as today, it experienced many crises throughout . Some of events that led to death of many innocent people were The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
Nowadays, every high school teaches about The Salem Witch Trials. Everything began when the Puritans moved to Salem- a town in Massachusetts. The reasons the Puritans moved to Salem is because they wanted to practice their religion freely. Religion of the Puritans was Christian and they had strongly believed in God. Their laws were so harsh; thatr’s why if anyone did something strange or do not follow a strict moral code, they would think the people want to be against them. The Salem Witch Trials occurred from February 1692 to May 1693. It started when two girls named Betty and Abigail suddenly screamed, threw things and made some weird sounds. They covered their ears in church, and was tried to commit suicide by jumping into a fire. The local doctors could not find the reason so they blamed it on the supernatural and declared that witches were in Salem. The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller talks about this event. The book says everything began because of a girl who Abigail William. When she and her friends danced in the forest, her uncle caught them and Petty- her cousin immediately fainted then never woke up. She was sleeping for a long time, her uncle even invited doctor to find the reason why she did not wake up yet, but the doctor could not.
However, at that time, dancing is a sin in Salem- Puritans believe that it represents for guilty and temptation. Abigail started to spread a rumor of witchcraft, because of fear of punishment that she would put in jail if people know she wasnt following the rule. She started to blame on others. Some facts such as in The Witches book of Stacy Schiff, and University of Virginia said that because the girls want to harm people who they do not like, they want to put others in jail so they could take their land and get more money. Furthermore, there was conflict between some wealthy families, so they took advantage of this rumor as an excuse to remove people they do not like. This rumor made everyone in Salem scared. Especially, the people who lived in Salem strongly believed in religion so they believed that the Devil could give witches power to harm others to get witches loyalty. Many innocent people- mostly women were accused because someone charged them with witchcraft. People would accuse others because some strange acts or as what people say is not following the rule of village, against God. They would based it on bring them to the court to jail, asked them some stupid questions; and if they confessed they were witches, they worked for Devil, people would let them go. But if they were stubborn, and did not confess that they were witches, people would hang them. Many people confessed to avoid punishment. So it meant they had no choice to prove that they were innocent. The trials were happening for a year until people stopped hunting for witches because they had lost their friends and family. Another reason was because when the Trials started, it targeted people in the lower class so they did not have enough power to defend themselves, but now spread out to upper class people. Everything had gone beyond the limit, it turned the whole village into chaos. It reached the limit when someone accused Governor Phipsr’s- the Governor of Massachusetts who created the witchcraft Court of Oyster and Terminer wife, so he decided to dissolve the court. As a result, over one hundred fifty people were accused of witchcraft, twenty nine convicted, and nine teen were hanged ( mostly women, only one man were pressing under many stones to death), six others died in prison.
The term people used to called the reason for this event is mass hysteria. Mass hysteria is a phenomenon when a rumor spread out in society, whether real or imaginary, be popular in the society as a result of rumors and fear. The reason why it impacted people in Salem because at that time people in Salem had stress from a growing population and narrow opportunities for women to participate in society; King Charles II repealed the Massachusetts Bayr’s charter as a result of not following a tariff, and navigation laws. Besides, the winter of 1692- 1693 was also harsh, it made they did not do well in agriculture. One of the most concrete studies, published by psychologist Linnda Caporael, said that the reason of some strange acts because of the fungus ergot, it found as a ingredient in Salemr’s bread at that time. Some scientists say that eating ergot in their food will lead to vomiting, paralyzed inability, and hallucinations. Also, the fungus thrives in warm and wet climates- not too unlike with the climate in Salem. But because of the time, people did not have enough knowledge, and science equipments to analyze, prove to understand it. So they started to believe in some nonsensical things to cover fears. Whenever a society feels threatened, the people may project fears onto something else.
Arthur Miller stated in The Crucible (1953) that: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from here! (145). He was writing this quote This is an impressive quote and very meaningful to people who read the book realize that even John made Elizabeth disappointed, she still forgives him. Thatr’s why she did not take his last chance to John saves his eternity. Another quote from the famous book about the Witches by Stacy Schiff is In 1692, The Massachusetts Bay Colony executed four teen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft ( Schiff 3) . It describes how crazy this event was, they even accused animals being witches. Everything was chaos, people could not distinguish between right and wrong. They did not care about morals, or dogma. Some accused whoever they wanted. Some cared about themselves and ignored the lives of others. They accused whoever they think are witches without anything to prove as insane. Humans indifference is a terrible thing. God knows I am innocent. I can deny wickedness. I do not plead guiltily Rebecca Nurse says. This quote is from a real victim and it is even engraved on rock nowadays in Salem and be a popular place that visitors comes. This quote expresses the despair of Rebecca. Even when threatened to admit guilt, she was still stubborn and did not admit it because she knew she did nothing wrong and was not ashamed of herself. She believed that God knows it. One of the first victims was accused of being witchcraft is said to be Rev. Nicholas Noyes- a colonial minister at the time: You’re a liar! I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard! If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink!- Sarah Good. This quote was from The Witches book by Stacy Schiff. Noyes died twenty years late, choking on his own blood. That message was show of her belief in God, and it was a her curse for Noyes before she was hanged. That curse has come as was proof of her innocence, and integrity.
The horrors of history are passed on from generation to generation in the hope that they will never happen again. However, in the 1950s, history repeats itself. At the same time, The Salem Witch Trials was about witchcraft. McCarthyism was about communism. McCarthyism happened during 1950-1954. It was the horrible time in American history. McCarthyism also known as the Red Scare, occurred in United States. Everything started because of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In a speech, he proclaimed that he was aware of two hundred fifty members of the Communist Party was working in United States Department. This speech opened a new era of paranoia and accusations in America. The reason why everybody started believing in what he said was because at the time, the US and the Soviet Union were allied to fight against the Hitler. Also during that time, WW II, American communists spied for the Russians on America.
After the WW II, after knowing about the news that Soviet Union created their first atomic bomb in 1949, people feared that the USSR would drop nuclear bombs on their whole country. Also in the same year, the largest population in the world, China, became communist like the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the eastern of half Europe was controlled by Joseph Stalin- he was a dictator of the Soviet Union, he made USSR from a weak and poor country to a strong and super power country under his influence but because of his cruelty, many people were died, and when Americans heard or read any thing related to it, it would be a new threat to them. Besides, when the Cold War escalated and this espionage became known, domestic communism came to be seen as a threat to national security. McCarthy accused people by non sense ways. Many people innocent were accused. Like if unfortunately, someone had a group of mix race friends, they would be accused or just because they joined any documents against nuclear weapons, or people just based on their habits that modern art, they would be accused. Most of the victims who were accused was people who worked in entertainment industry. The famous thing was come from this event called Hollywood Blacklist, it was created by the House Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC), it was a small group of ten people at first called Hollywood Ten. Because of the nationr’s fear was spreading out endless, HUAC have opened up a series of investigations to explore communism in Hollywood. The government started by inviting first ten people were working in Hollywood, most of them were screenwriter, filmmakers, etc.
The Hollywood Ten refused to answer the questions of HUAC in the basis that it was a violation of their rights and because they knew that if they cooperated with the committee, they would be next asked to name names o other potential communist sympathizers. McCarthy exploited that to help his position, and his political party in the State Department. He became famous by show off the list of people who were communist. Other politicians made the motivation to make McCarthy keep doing that- accused everyone insanely, and created some fake evidences to charge people being communist. People who were accused would put in jail if they were citizens, if they were not, they would be send back to their country. McCarthy made a big mistake. He charged that communism was in CIA and U.S weapon industry. McCarthyr’s wild accusations became a nuisance to Republican Party- the party that he was belong to. McCarthy was stubborn that he was right so the government decided to open the court to discuss and decide who was right about it. With the nonsense evidence, McCarthy lost. The McCarthy-Army hearings collapsed soon thereafter.
Both Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism are horrible events that no one in America wants to happen again. They have many similar things. In The Crucibleof Arthur Miller, he used the trials as an allegory for the McCarthyism paranoia in the 1950s. McCarthyism often is described as being a witch hunt due to its similarities to the Salem Witch Trials. McCarthy started McCarthyism as the group of girls started the Salem Witch Trials. He was like the group of girls, accusing innocent people of false acts. They both put pressure on the people they charged at being witches or communist until people confessed it in the court to avoid punishments. They grew mostly out of fear. They grew relentless in persecution of their opposing groups. Their persecution of the opposing party pretty much walked over the rights of the citizens. The matter of fact was that legal infractions were held to smaller degree than supporting the opposing party. Neither of these two needed much evidence to make an accusation and in the Salem Witch Trials most of the accusations were just based off of things that kids were seeing and in the United States, all people needed was a little bit of association from indirect people such Tituba- she was a slave of Parris and she was so close to his daughter so he was assuming that Tituba is the cause of why his daughter did not wake up, or Rebecca was a person who helped Ann Putnam had a newborn but mostly all her children were died so she was accused, etc and they were in it. It was a very strange time and many people were upset with the type of persecution that was happening. It is also consider that a lot of innocent people were persecuted. Both events regarded the victims as scapegoats for all the problems, they also led to reputation damage forever.
Another similar thing is McCarthy and Abigail both had strongly believe that they were doing the right things and they should keep doing that. Abigail and McCarthy also were highly respected in the beginning, but their reputations had become ruined by the ends of the events that had taken place. These citizens were eventually downfall of the Trials and McCarthyism. Beside, The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism were occurrences of mass hysteria, hysteriar’s period. That is why many people listened and believed in McCarthy just as people in Salem were baselessly to the girls. McCarthyr’s and the girls unsubstantiated claims ruined lives and led to increased hostility. In the McCarthy era many people lost their jobs, and were basically black mailed for isolation from everything, it means they could not get a new job from anywhere and the government would more notice of them, and in the Salem Witch Trials many people were hanged, and lost their relatives. In both Puritans and McCarthyism, the desire to maintain a social order, based on the dominance of white, be a wealth man, was very strong.
McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trials had many similar things but that does not mean they do not have different things. One different points that every one can see that the time it happened. McCarthyism occurred 1950-1954, while The Salem Witch Trials occurred about three hundred years ago (1692-1692). Beside, McCarthyism happened between two political parties and it was more about politics than religion as Salem Witch Trials were. McCarthy accused people of being communists, whereas Abigail accused people of being witches. Another difference is some of the first people who were accused of being witches wereoutsidersof those who accused, and practiced evil because they were different. Some people were not used to some of the things different people did so they automatically figured they were associated with the Devil. But in McCarthyism, some of the first people who were accused were insiders, people that were in the entertainment business and had relations, connections with many people. So those people were accused of being communist because they were part of a really huge and international industry. The difference between two events is the reason why people accused each other. For Salem Witch Trials, people were accused because of revenge; for example: Ann Putnam accused Rebecca Nurse of being witchcraft because she wanted to revenge the Nurse family of taking their land. For McCarthyism, people created accusations to gain status. Like if they accused someone being communist, they would be rewarded and it would be in their status, they also get less risk of accusations.
Besides, the one big different thing between two events was their punishment. The severity of punishments was very much different landscape at the time. In McCarthyism, being in the U.S and being called a communist could result in jail time, blacklist from their occupation. Most of them came out with a bad reputation whether or not they denied it. Meanwhile, Salem took it up a notch being accused of witchcraft could result in immediate execution, hanging, burning by stake. An accusation of witchcraft was as good as a ticket for death row at that time. The Salem Witch Trials hindered the community, it kind of represented that victims know the church was the main power in the community and they were going against. It was a little different, McCarthyism spreads this one may have been more severed, it spreads to industry, it was not only hindered communities and made the United States look a little paranoid at the time. The huge another difference things is that where two events affected. In McCarthyism, it took place and was going on throughout the whole country – United of America. Meanwhile, the Salem Witch Trials were limited in a town of Salem, Massachusetts.
These two events show off clearly about ways human being themselves in and over time. Nowadays when people look back they can see how selfish they were, how stupid they were, how coward people were, and how they react to something no logical when they were obsessed about their fears a lot. Both events accused innocent people for trying to find something can cover their fears. All the people who appeared to accuse people in Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism has lied. They lied for their benefits; in Salem Witch Trials, if they accused someone, they can harm the person they hate, they would not see that person anymore; meanwhile in McCarthyism if people accused someone of being communist, they would be rewarded and risk of suspicion from the government. It shows off the selfish. This evidence shows that how selfish people were. In Salem, people accused everyone they think were witches by insanity ways, it happened the same with McCarthyism, people started to believe something without evidence or anything to prove after they listen to Abigail and McCarthy, they were weaker, they did not stand for their points of view, because of many thing were happening around them before, all of those made them easily get persuaded. This action was showing how weak they were and how they became foolish when they had crisis.
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