Salem Witchcraft Trials

(748 words)
  • Marion Spies (Bergische Universit)

Historical Context Essay


In Massachusetts in the last decades of the seventeenth century, sectarian disputes and religious indifference were on the rise. On the one hand, there was the Protestant emphasis on a direct accountability to God (individual conscience), which led believers challenge authority. In Massachusetts, such ‘heresies’ (mainly of Quakers and Baptists) had been suppressed by the Puritans since the 1630s. On the other hand, society was growing more worldly; many children of the ‘visible saints’ could not give the required testimony of regeneration, which was required to become a full member of the congregation. A further setback to Puritan control was the royal charter of 1691, which required toleration of dissenters …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Spies, Marion. "Salem Witchcraft Trials". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 May 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=983, accessed 04 September 2015.]