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Puritan Salem Witch Trials Great Awakening

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Puritan Salem Witch Trials Great Awakening. Growth in Salem Town. Spreads inland quickly so a new community forms – Salem Village. “Villagers” want own Church, Minister & New Meeting House.

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growth in salem town
Growth in Salem Town
  • Spreads inland quickly so a new community forms – Salem Village.
  • “Villagers” want own Church, Minister & New Meeting House.
  • Early support by “Town” declines over political influence – access to property, family inheritances and wealth.
village leadership tough
“Village” Leadership Tough
  • “Village” Minister Parris challenges “Town” powers - the prominent Putnam family, living along border of “Town” and “Village”.
  • Battle is over influence in community affairs.
      • “Village” seeks more independence from “Town”
      • “Town” officials vote against “Village” on many


      • Becomes rich vs. poor struggle
targeted accusations
Targeted Accusations
  • Minister Parris and his allies accused vulnerable Putnam family members and friends to intimidate them and force them to back off their political goals in Salem Village.
gory statistics
Gory Statistics

From June through September of 1692:

- 19 men and women, convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging.

- Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges.

- At least four accused witches had died in prison.

- One to two hundred other persons were arrested and imprisoned on witchcraft charges.

- Two dogs were executed as suspected accomplices of witches. 

theories about how
Theories About How
  • Girls affected by symptoms of “possession” were encouraged to fake them by Parris & his supporters.
  • Girls from broken families were seeking attention, but went to far…
  • Victims of “ergot poisoning”. Ergot is a fungus on bread that produces the chemical LSD. From Science Vol. 192 (2 April 1976)
great awakening
Great Awakening
  • Awakenings resulted often after times of stress in communities.
  • Periods of renewed “piety” and devotion.
  • 1739-1769 – George Whitfield “acted” out sermons – brought back many who had strayed.
great awakening1
Great Awakening
  • Jonathan Edwards – Church attendance is not enough to gain salvation – must FEEL sin!
  • “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

a fiery sermon that scared people.

  • Resulted in interest in higher education – Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth