|A Break With Charity
By Ann Rinaldi
Historical Elements of Puritan Culture and Society around Salem
Before we examine the Salem Witch trials it is important to understand
elements of Puritan
culture and the social progression of witchcraft trials. There are
many important elements of Puritan theology.
Puritans have a complex conception of God. The Puritans believed that
individuals should have their own access to God (church, Bible, prayer).
For example, the ability to be good means you were saved and you are good
because God wants you to be. Outside of religion, the Puritan culture also
focused on the role of family.
Family is the foundation of obedience and order.
Causes, Theories and Locations
Witch hunts began in Europe (England, France, Germany, Scotland) in 1450 and continued until the mid-1700's. It is perceived that the geographic progression continued until it reached New England in the 1600's. There are numerous theories surrounding the cause of the witch trials. The two most commonly studied are illness and religious conflict. Many historians believe that the illness is a result of ergot poisoning. The five major causes of the Salem witch trials include:
Rinaldi, Ann. A
Break With Charity. Harcourt Brace Inc. 1992.295.9780152046828.