We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

The Flaws of the Salem Witch Trials Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 689
  • Category: salem

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The Flaws of the Salem Witch Trials Essay Sample

Cowering behind a chair, a young child screams, “Please, please leave me!” In bewilderment her mother watches, unable to do anything. “No! Stop speaking to me, leave me!” the girl cries in anguish. These were the days of the devil; the days of the Salem Witch Trials. An analysis of the trials provides a unique contrast to today’s trials.

The Witch Trials began in the Puritan town of Salem in late February of 1692 and lasted through April of 1693. According to National Geographic in their online article “Prologue,” the trials began when Elizabeth Paris, the daughter of Reverend Samuel Paris, and her two friends, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam, began behaving strangely such as shouting nonsense, cowering under chairs and contorting themselves (Internet). The Puritans could only explain this as the supernatural. After much prodding, the three girls confessed to the women that were causing the behavior: Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn, and the Indian slave, Tituba. By confessing she was a witch, Tituba created a great fear among the Puritans. They embarked upon a mission to find all the witches in the town and its surrounding area. In the trials, according to National Geographic, over 160 people were accused of being witches; 25 of whom were either executed or died in prison (“Epilogue” Internet).

When compared to today’s trial system, the Salem Witch Trials reveals itself quite flawed and illogical. The first difference is that trials and decisions today are based on facts. The Salem Witch Trials were brought upon by hysteria and were based simply on personal testimony and inexplicable actions. The Puritan belief system was based on laws and fear. Instead of believing in the power of the Holy Spirit to deliver them from the power of the devil, they feared the power of a witch. This great fear brought them to kill many innocent people. Also, when someone was brought before a trial, they were asked if they knew anyone else that was a witch. The people named would be brought to trial based simply on the words of someone else. In a trial today, someone is brought to trial because there was a violation of the law and evidence led them to believe this person was possibly guilty. According to Brendan Dignan in his article “Governor, Sir William Phips,” it was found that “The court’s aggressive use of spectral evidence and the seeking of confessions, backed up by naming new suspects, led to the unrelenting spread of witchcraft accusations across the eastern Colony and brought discredit upon the trials”(Internet).

Secondly, the Salem Witch trials assumed someone was guilty; whereas, in a trial today someone is assumed innocent until proven guilty. When a potential witch came into court he/she was assumed as guilty and confessions were forced out of them. Because they were assumed guilty, it was very easy to convict them with spectral evidence. This was later on looked down upon by Reverend Increase Mather when he stated on October 2, 1692 that, “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned”(“Epilogue” Internet).

The most important difference between the Salem Witch Trials and a trial held today is how the decision is reached. Today everyone is entitled to a jury of their peers. This jury consists of 12 people that listen to both sides of the issue, have no known bias, and use facts to make a decision. The Salem Witch Trials had one judge making decisions, and he was bias. In the midst of the trials, Governor William Phips appointed William Stoughton who was described as an “unrelenting zealot, who looked to find guilt by means of spectral evidence, in nearly every one accused of witchcraft”(Dignan Internet). To have a fair and just trial there must be a group of people who are unbiased and base their decisions on facts.

In conclusion, the Salem Witch Trials had many flaws. In comparison to today’s trials they conflict in three different ways. If these trials had been unbiased and based on facts rather than hysteria innocent people could have been saved.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Why does Reverend Hale visit the Proctors?

The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, had many of the main characters that had their ups and downs, including Reverend Hale. Reverend Hale, the man always with good intention, tries to correct his mistakes of the witch trials twice and this ultimately raises questions about him being a man of God. He first quits the court and refuses to be involved in any of the...

The Salem Witch Trials

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, was written during the Salem Witch Trials, in 1962 and during these times the reputation of one\'s name carried so much importance and to add to it in the township of Salem public and private moralities were at right about the same level, as a result the people of Salem were focused on maintaining a public standing in society and...

The Causes of the Salem Witch Trials...

Living as we do in the 20th century, the charges imposed on people throughout New England during the 1680s and 1690s seem preposterous. Any behavior regarded as strange by fellow citizens was sufficient to hold a trial with a sentence of death. Though such scenarios seem unfathomable in our modern culture, it was a reality for hundreds of New England settlers. The causes of the...

Salem Witch Trials in "The Crucible" by...

Every one in a while, America erupts into mass hysteria because of the ranting of some crazy people. In the 1600's, we had the Salem witch trials, and as described in the book, "The Crucible", a group of girls falsely accuse their neighbors of witchcraft, and regular, innocent people are hung. Then, in the 1950's, a man named Joseph McCarthy sparked a craze of accusing...

The salem witch trials and mass hysteria

In 1692, Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts) was the scene of a moral panic that spread throughout the region and involved witchcraft accusations which led to trials, torture, imprisonment, and executions. Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or...

Get Access To The Full Essay
icon
300+
Materials Daily
icon
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
icon
Free Plagiarism
Checker
icon
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access
immediately?

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member