The Falsely Accused: The Salem Witch Trial Essay

“It should be noted, as with so many legends and popularly accepted truths created out of political motivation: There, in fact, is no evidence that the hundreds of murders historically attributed to the werewolves of Gevaudan were actually caused by wolves. As with all witch-hunts… ” “Beatdom #11: The Nature Issue. ” Goodreads. N. p. , n. d. Web”. The Salem witch trials brought about hostility within a community causing unwarranted chaos and corruption in the small town of Salem Mass. Furthermore, these events lead to witch trials becoming a problem in Salem.

The Salem witch trials had started with a domino effect of trials such as, “The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. ” (History. com Staff, “Salem Witch Trials”, 2011) Since they were just children, most would not believe that the accusations against them were true, not only that but one of the girls was the daughter of the priest in the village convincing most to believe that she had a way of being pure.

These trials also had something to do with each other in more than just one way, either they were to benefit one person, or the group of girls who were falsely accusing others. This is the trial that happened before the Salem witch trials, but opened the opportunity to discuss witchcraft in Salem, “following an argument with laundress Goody Glover, Martha Goodwin, 13, begins exhibiting bizarre behavior. Days later her younger brother and two sisters exhibit similar behavior.

Glover is arrested and tried for bewitching the Goodwin children. The Reverend Cotton Mather meets twice with Glover following her arrest in an attempt to persuade her to repent her witchcraft. Glover is hanged. Mather takes Martha Goodwin into his house. Her bizarre behavior continues and worsens. “(http:// law2. umkc. edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/asal_ch. htm) Although the trail was before the Salem witch trial, this trial still counts as one of them because of the victim playing a role later in the trials.

They went on blaming people for reasons of their own, and would end up beginning the Salem witch trials. The Falsely Accused There was a group of girls who were going around and condemning innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit, but the main antagonist in these plans was Abigail Williams, “Abigail Williams was one of the main accusers in the Salem Witch trials. The 11-year-old niece of Reverend Samuel Parris showed signs of fits and hysterics in mid-January 1692. She and her 9-year-old cousin Betty were the first two afflicted girls in Salem Village.

Abigail gave formal testimony at 7 cases, and she was involved in as many as 17 capital cases. ” (http://salem. lib. virginia. edu/ people? group. num=all&mbio. num=mb33) After Dr. William Griggs claimed that the girls afflicted were by “an evil hand”, he managed to trigger the town into thinking that they were being targeted by witches and should be wary of what is to come. After that, Tituba was the first to concede, she then started the pointing game and from then on its just false accusation after accusation. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman” (http://www. smithsonianmag. com/ history/a-brief-history-of-the-salem-witch-trials-1751624897) Many were accused, but these were the first few to show their true intention, which was to benefit themselves or to seem innocent.

I understand the reasoning behind their accusations, because, they were without families and could work as scapegoats. They left a horrid path of exploitation in their wake leading to after affect. The crack in the system After wards the city was left broken and corrupt with its abused court house, as such trial happened, “Governor Phipps, in response to Mather’s plea and his own wife being questioned for witchcraft, prohibited further arrests, released many accused witches and dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer on October 29.

Phipps replaced it with a Superior Court of Judicature, which disallowed spectral evidence and only condemned 3 out of 56 defendants. Phipps eventually pardoned all who were in prison on witchcraft charges by May 1693. But the damage had been done: 19 were hanged on Gallows Hill, a 71-year-old man was pressed to death with heavy stones, several people died in jail and nearly 200 people, overall, had been accused of practicing “the Devil’s magic. “‘” (http:// law2. umkc. edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/asal_ch. tm)

Only until after all those deaths and only until his wife got accused did he decide to stop the arrests, all the damage had already been done and was irreversible. He decision to dissolve the court and make spectral evidence unallowable would be something that I agree with because, that would force the girls previous accusations to be invalid without proper reasoning. “Following the trials and executions, many involved, like judge Samuel Sewall, publicly confessed error and guilt. On January 14, 1697, the General Court ordered a day of fasting and soulsearching for the tragedy of Salem.

In 1702, the court declared the trials unlawful. And in 1711, the colony passed a bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused and granted ? 600 restitution to their heirs. However, it was not until 1957—more than 250 years later—that Massachusetts formally apologized for the events of 1692. ” (http:// www. smithsonianmag. com/history/a-brief-history-of-the-salemwitch-trials-1751624897) After the trials, they finally saw that what they were doing was “unlawful” and should never have happened.

They did apologize for what had happened, but it wasn’t until all heirs had long passed. And so, it ends. In conclusion, the Salem witch trials started when a group of girls, led by Abigail, were found to act strange, almost as if possessed. They would go on to blame Tituba and two others for their strange actions, naming the cause to be witchcraft, the would keep on blaming others toward their deaths for their own benefit and would not stop until they got to the judge’s wife, forcing the judge to diminish the court and rule out spectral evidence for the next court.

The state itself didn’t apologize until 250 vears later. The witch trials was a lesson for politics to learn from, not to trust anybody without proper evidence. I thought that the actual trials themselves would have had more of a physical check that wouldn’t be so easily tampered or influenced because this all could have stopped at just the group of girls getting caught and maybe punished or forgiven.