Horrors of American History: Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism

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Nowadays, America is the top country in the world. The U.S is keep developing day by day. When someone talk about America, people know that as a big country, have good education, and strong economic. But how many people know about American’s history. How many people know what did America experience to be strong such as today. Before America becomes strong such as today, it has experienced throughout many crisis. Some of events that led to death of many innocent people were The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.

Nowadays, every high school teach about The Salem Witch Trials. Everything began when Puritans moved to Salem- a town of Massachusetts. The reasons the Puritans moved to Salem because they wanted to practice their religion as free. Religion of Puritans was heavy influenced by the church and Christian beliefs. Their law was so harshly; that’s why if anyone did something strange or do not follow a strict moral code will regarded to against them. The Salem Witch Trials occurred from February 1692 to May 1693. It was happened when two girls named Betty and Abigail suddenly screamed, threw things and made some weird sounds. They covered their ears in church, and was trying to suicide by jumping into the fire. The local doctors could not find the reason so they blamed on supernatural and declared that witches was existing in Salem. In a book talks about this event is The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller . The books says everything begin because of a girl who named Abigail William.

When she and her friends danced in the forest, her uncle was caught them and Petty- her cousin immediately fainted then never wake up. She was sleeping for age, even her uncle invited doctor comes to find the reason why she did not wake up yet, but the doctor could not find the reason. However, at that time, dance is committed sin in Salem. Because of fear, Abigail started to spread the rumor of witchcraft. She started to blame on others. Some facts said that because the girls want to harm people who they do not like. Furthermore, there were conflict between some wealthy families, so they take advantage from this rumor as an excuse to remove people they do not like. This rumor made everyone in Salem town scared. Especially, the people who lived in Salem have strongly believe in religion so they believe that Devil could give witches power to harm others to get their loyalty. Many innocent people- mostly women were accused because someone charged them on witchcraft.

People would accuse someone have some strange acts or as what they says is not following their rule, against God, they would brought them to the court to jail, asked them some stupid questions; and if they confessed they were witches, they worked for Devil, people would let them go. But if they were stubborn, not confessed that they’re witches, people would hanged them. So it meant they had no choice. The Trials was happening for a year until people stopped hunting for witches because they had lost their friends and their family. Another reason was because when the Trials start, it was target in the people in lower class so they did not have enough power to defend themselves but they it was spreading out to upper class people. Everything had gone beyond the limit, it made the whole village became chaos. It reached the limit when someone accused Governor Phipps’ wife so he decided to dissolve the court.

The term people used to called the reason of this event is “mass hysteria”. Mass hysteria is a phenomenon when the rumor is spreading out in society, whether real or imaginary, through a population in society as a result of rumors and fear. The reason why it impact people in Salem because at that time Salem people had stress from growing population and narrow opportunities for women to participate in society; King Charles II reviled the Massachusetts Bay’s charter as a result of not following the tariff, and navigation laws. Besides, the winter of 1692- 1693 was also harsh, it made they did not do well in cultivation. So they started to believe in some things nonsense to cover their fears. Whenever a society feels threatened, the people may project their fears onto something else.

Arthur Miller stated in The Crucible (1953) that: “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from here!” ( p. 145). This is an impressive quote and very meaningful to people who read the book realize that even John made Elizabeth disappointed, she still forgives him. That’s why she did not take his last chance to John saves his eternity. Another quote from the famous book about the Salem Witch Trials is “In 1692, The Massachusetts Bay Colony executed four teen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft” ( Schiff 3) .

It describes how crazy this event was, they even accused animals being witchcraft. Everything was chaos, people could not distinguish between right and wrong. They did not care about moral, or dogma. They just accused whoever they want. They just cared about themselves and ignored the lives of others. They accused everybody as insane. Humans’ indifference is a terrible thing. The quote from a real victim and it is even engraved on the rock nowadays in Salem and be the popular place that visitors comes is “God knows I am innocent. I can deny wickedness. I do not plead guilty” Rebecca Nurse says. This quote expresses the despair of Rebecca.

Even when threatened to admit guilty, she was still stubborn and did not admit it because she knew she did nothing wrong and was not ashamed of herself. She believes that God knows it. One of the first victims to be accused of witchcraft said to Rev. Nicholas Noyes- a colonial minister at the time: “You’re a liar! I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard! If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink!”- Sarah Good. Noyes died twenty years late, choking on his own blood. That message was show of her beliefs to God, and it was a her curse for Noyes before she was hanged. That curse became true was proved for her innocent, and integrity.

The horrors of history are passed on from generation to generation in the hope that they will never happen again. However, in the 1950s, history repeats itself. Meanwhile, The Salem Witch Trials was about witchcraft. The McCarthyism was about communism. McCarthyism happened during 1950-1954. It was the horrible time in America history.


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Horrors of American History: Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. (2021, Mar 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/horrors-of-american-history-salem-witch-trials-and-mccarthyism/

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