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THE PURITANS AND THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS Introduction to The Crucible.

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1 THE PURITANS AND THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS Introduction to The Crucible

2 Who were the Puritans? The Puritan movement began in England in the middle of the sixteenth century (1500s). Some Christians in England had begun to feel that the church was corrupt. These reformers suggested that scripture, NOT the clergy, should guide Christian life. In 1543 King Henry broke away from the Catholic Church to form the Church of England. By law, English citizens were forced to join the new church. For many of the reformers, this was a “tipping point.”

3 Two Types of Puritans Separatists Held irreconcilable differences with the Church of England; they thought the church was corrupt and that they must distance themselves from it Were persecuted under various monarchies in England First fled from England to Holland Later, came to found the Plymouth Colony in America in 1620 Non-Separatists Held less extreme views of the Church of England Believed in church reform rather than an overthrow of the church Came to America in 1630 and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony

4 Predestination The Puritans believed in Predestination. Predestination means that you are predestined at birth to either go to heaven or hell. Those who were destined for heaven were called the “elect.” They were chosen for salvation by God. A belief in Jesus was not enough. Being a good person was not enough. You had to be elected for salvation. No one knew who was or was not saved

5 Predestination Continued However, the Puritans believed that the “elect” or chosen would follow the path of righteousness. God’s grace was given to the chosen, and this grace was demonstrated through one’s behavior. Puritans would, therefore, reflect upon themselves (self- examination) for signs of this grace. So, even though they did not believe good works helped one get into heaven, they believed that living a godly life was evidence of being chosen.

6 As a result of their belief in Predestination, Puritans: Were always looking for signs Scrutinized daily events Thought there was always a reason for everything Felt that God ’ s hand was in everything, no matter how insignificant

7 Puritan Beliefs and Values Puritans believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible They believed in explicit readings of the Bible, as opposed to church doctrines They did not believe in excess worship; they wanted no rituals, adornments, no stained glass, no cushioned pews, no singing, and no music They wanted to keep things simple so that they could concentrate on God There is a constant struggle between the forces of God and Satan God rewards the good and punishes the wicked

8 Education and Work Ethic They believed in living a virtuous, self-examined life They believed in strict discipline and had a strong work ethic They felt that qualities that led to economic success were virtuous They valued education. Harvard was founded in 1636 to train ministers They wanted their children to get far away from the evils of England Women were considered less capable intellectually, physically, theologically, and morally Literature for pleasure was highly censored

9 Puritan Children Puritan children were expected to behave under the same strict code as the adults – doing chores, attending church services, and repressing individual differences. Any show of emotion, such as excitement, fear, or anger, was discouraged, and disobedience was severely punished. Children rarely played, as toys and games were scarce. Puritans saw these activities as sinful distractions.

10 But unlike young girls, boys had a few outlets for their imagination. They often worked as apprentices outside the home, practicing such skills as carpentry or crafts. Boys were also allowed to explore the outdoors, hunting and fishing. On the other hand, girls were expected to tend to the house, helping their mothers cook, wash, clean, and sew. Many children learned to read, but most households owned only the Bible and other religious works—including a few that described evil spirits and witchcraft in great detail. There were a few books written for children, but these often warned against bad behavior and described the punishment that children would suffer for sinful acts.

11 Puritan Literature and Writing They did not write for pleasure or entertainment. One reason was the fact that they were struggling to build their settlement. Another reason was the fact that they considered works of fiction frivolous and possibly immoral. Types of texts Puritans did read and write included: historical documents: preserving their history and offering justifications to relieve the guilt they felt over leaving relatives behind in England personal journals: as tools for self-reflection/ examination and as a way to look for signs of salvation poetry that was highly inspired by religious beliefs religious writing

12 Primary Puritan Influences Martin Luther ( ) A German theologian who attacked the corruption in the Catholic Church with the publication of his 95 thesis. Believed that all people were innately endowed with grace through God. Argued that no pope or bishop had any God-given right over the souls of men.

13 Primary Puritan Influences John Calvin ( ) Believed that the downfall of mankind was directly related to the corruption resulting from the fall of Adam and Eve. Believed that God’s forgiveness is limited to a select group of followers. Believed that God’s forgiveness could neither be earned nor denied. Preached that God’s chosen would remain in a state of grace while on earth and would be taken directly to heaven when dead.

14 Puritan Society as a Theocracy A theocracy is a society ruled by religious authority. The laws and restrictions of the Puritans are known as some of the harshest in early American colonization and were administered through religion. The courts were considered not only a legal authority, but a religious authority as well. If the court deemed you guilty of a crime, it was as if God had deemed you guilty.

15 Puritan Society as a Theocracy It was against the law not to attend church, where men and women sat on opposite sides through long services. The Puritan lifestyle was restrained and rigid: People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions. Individual differences were frowned upon. Even the dark, somber Puritan dress was dictated by the church. Since Puritans were expected to live by a rigid moral code, they believed that all sins – from sleeping in church to stealing food – should be punished. They also believed God would punish sinful behavior. When a neighbor would suffer misfortune, such as a sick child or a failed crop, Puritans saw it as God’s will.

16 Fears of Witchcraft Puritans also believed the Devil was as real as God. Everyone was faced with the struggle between the powers of good and evil, but Satan would select the weakest individuals – women, children, the mentally ill – to carry out his work. Those who followed Satan were considered witches. Witchcraft was one of the greatest crimes a person could commit, punishable by death.

17 Salem Witch Trials: The Beginning In 1692, a group of girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts began to exhibit strange behavior. The girls screamed, threw things about the room, uttered strange sounds, crawled under furniture, and contorted themselves into peculiar positions. Doctors concluded that only the Devil could be responsible for the girls’ afflictions. Pressured to identify the source of their affliction, the girls named three women as witches: Tituba (the reverend’s slave), Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne.

18 Tensions in Salem In 1692, Salem was divided into two distinct parts: Salem Town and Salem Village. Salem Village (also referred to as Salem Farms) was actually part of Salem Town but was set apart by its economy, class, and character. Residents of Salem Village were mostly poor farmers who made their living cultivating crops in the rocky terrain. Salem Town, on the other hand, was a prosperous port town at the center of trade with London. Most of those living in Salem Town were wealthy merchants.

19 Tensions in Salem But there was also a division within Salem Village. Those who lived near Ipswich Road, prospered and supported the economic changes taking place. But many of the farmers who lived far from this prosperity believed the worldliness and affluence of Salem Town threatened their Puritan values. One of the main families to denounce the economic changes was the Putnams— a strong and influential force behind the witchcraft accusations. Tensions became worse when Salem Village selected Reverend Samuel Parris as their new minister. Parris was a stern Puritan who denounced the worldly ways and economic prosperity of Salem Town as the influence of the Devil. His rhetoric further separated the two factions within Salem Village. It is likely that the jealousies and hostilities between these two factions played a major role in the witch trials. Most of the villagers accused of witchcraft lived near Ipswich Road, whereas the accusers lived in the distant farms of Salem Village. It is not surprising that Reverend Parris was a vigorous supporter of the witch trials, and his impassioned sermons helped fan the flames of the hysteria.

20 Can any deductions be made by looking at this map?

21 A Town in Hysteria From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been 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. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials. Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended.


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