Background Information: From 1692 to 1693, a one-year span, more than two hundred people were accused of witchcraft and twenty people were executed – nineteen people hanged, one person tortured to death, and four people died waiting in prison for their trial.
Thesis: The Salem Witch Trials were an infamous series of persecutions, during colonial Puritan times, that were motivated by their religious moralities and irrational fears.
Body Paragraph #1
Topic/Transition Sentence: Like many other groups of the 1690s, the Puritans believed that there was one God and one Devil; one evil and one virtuous.
Main Point/Evidence: Puritan lifestyle was heavily influenced by the Church and Christian beliefs.
Analysis/Elaboration: Puritan laws were very rigid and members of the Puritan society were expected to follow a strict moral code. They believed that anything that went against the code was considered a sin, a work of the devil. Puritans also knew about the wrath of God, and they did everything to avoid it; which was why the witch trials were taken so seriously and that the guilty were heavily punished. The first women to be accused of witchcraft were those who had wandered from the Puritan lifestyle and were considered “social outcasts.” The accusers often tended to single out merchants, deviants, traders and anyone else they considered “harmful to Puritan society.” Puritans believed that it was their job to listen to God and rid the community of sinners that they thought were doing the Devil’s work. The Puritans thought that the Devil was as real and strong as God was, and that members of society who were weakest at upholding Puritan morals would have been selected to carry out His work. Therefore, as opposed to having factual evidence, the accused were hanged based solely on the complaints of several young, teenage girls and their own positions in society.
Concluding Sentence: Religion was an impactful factor for change throughout the course of history, with no exception for the Salem Witch Trials; its legacy being carried through the 20th century when Arthur Miller reenacted the events of 1692 in his play “The Crucible”.
Body Paragraph #2
Topic/Transition Sentence: During the Salem Witch Trials, many colonies had the strong belief the Satan was present and that He was constantly attempting to take, and use, the children for his work.
Main Point/Evidence: The Puritans weren’t afraid of Satan’s presence, but rather, the fear of Satan’s presence.
Analysis/Elaboration: The town became so alarmed, that innocent lives were taken, to provide others with a sense of security. The “precaution” of taking anyone accused of practicing witchcraft to prison was completely unnecessary, and it was in this attempt to create a sense of calmness within the community, that the fear, instead, became worse. Helping people to take realistic precautions, created a spread of blame, along with a new sense of chaotic panic.