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Old 09-12-2017, 09:24 PM
qazwart qazwart is offline
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One of the biggest reasons for the witch hysteria was the political climate in 1691. This was the midst of King William's War when the French encouraged their Indian allies to attack English settlements throughout New England. There were food shortages, disease, war refugees, and fear of attack throughout the 1690s. It wouldn't take too much effort to bring the panic to a full boil.
Old 09-13-2017, 09:02 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
The Salem Witch craze occurred in 1692. Burning witches was not some long forgotten practice. Thousands of people (mostly women) were executed for witchcraft during the seventeenth century.
Having quoted me, I am not sure whether you were attempting to rebut my post.

The Salem witch trials were very much a part of the general Renaissance era witch hunts. (Wikipedia dates witch hunts from 1450 to 1750.) It also occurred in a time of social upheavals that tend to correspond to witch hunt outbreaks, (war with native peoples, threatened famine, the Williamite War in Britain casting political shadows over communications from "home", etc.). While there were occasional accusations witchcraft, (there were a total of 12 in the 50 years prior to the Salem hysteria), the Salem outbreak resulted in over 200 prosecutions, (including religious leaders and prominent citizens), 20 executions, and a handful of sick and elderly people dying in prison. That sort of event does call for more of an explanation that that people in those days feared witches.

(And while it is true the Britain seemed to have a penchant for identifying women as witches, that is also a phenomenon that could use a better explanation. The numbers of witches prosecuted in Europe were not nearly tilted against women to the degree that women in Britain and its colonies were attacked.)


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