American History Follow up Question.

After reading your initial response to the forum question, your instructor will ask a follow-up question intended to make you look a little deeper at the subject. Your response to the follow up question should be at least 200 words long. Include references and citations where necessary to ensure proper credit and documentation of your sources. You are welcome to include references in addition to the course textbook, just ensure that you use proper documentation.

Initial Response:

The Salem Witch Trials occurred during a significant time in American history. These events are of importance because they occurred during a time when women in the region were increasingly becoming enlightened and learning new norms and ways of living. The main belief that the puritans had at this particular time was that women were more susceptible to coercion from the devil (Reed,2007). The period was one of great turmoil especially for women and this is because there was a major imbalance concerning what was socially expected of women and men. During this period, women were also pushing for recognition and proper recognition in the legal system and this raised concern among the conservative pillars of the society. Women at this particular time were increasingly prosecuted for embracing and exploiting sexuality and such women were often linked with witchcraft.

Furthermore, most of the witchcraft notions were in fact mass hysteria and confusion. During this period, people still held conservative beliefs about female sexuality as well as women who promoted sexual revolution. A majority of women felt like outcasts especially because they had new ideas concerning sexuality which were condemned by the entire community around (Hill, 2014). The Puritans therefore served as representations of opposition to the new identity that the women at this time had decided to explore. It is therefore clear that the Salem witch trials actually targeted the women who lived outside the societal norms. The trials have been interpreted as a form of patriarchy to persecute women who acted contrary to the accepted norms of this particular time. The Salem trials were therefore less about witchcraft and more about the societal battle to accept or reject the new order of enlightenment that a group of women had introduced.




Hill, F. (2014). A delusion of Satan: The full story of the Salem witch trials. Tantor eBooks.

Reed, I. (2007). Why Salem made sense: culture, gender, and the Puritan persecution of witchcraft. Cultural Sociology, 1(2), 209-234.Doi: 10.1177/1749975507078188

Follow up Question: Please read carefully: Don’t use Initial Response to answer Follow up Question.

Very true Marc, the residents of Salem had a very black and white view of the world. Things were either good or evil, and the power to decided which was which was not in human hands, it was in the hands of their god. So if a person was deemed evil, they had to be punished for throwing the balance of humanity, and good vs evil out of order. Do you think perhaps that is why they wanted to punish witches?

Professor Parham

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