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McKenna Campbell American Civilizations Tuesdays and Thursdays Dueling Document #1 Accusations and Defenses in the Salem Witchcraft

Trials

I notice that there is in fact a pattern in the accusations. All three of the women who accused John Proctor tried to say the same as the last. That he would torture them to drink, and write in his book, the women would then state another name of someone who he had done it too. The next person to testify would be one brought up in a previous accusation. Those who testified and spoke of apparitions knew that if they said that the previous person was wrong in saying that they had seen a witch with them that they themselves could be accused of witchcraft. I think the people were probably scared to change the story, and to say that the person being accused was not a witch. Because they lived in fear of being accused themselves they would play along with previous accusations just to keep the blame off of themselves. The language in the accusations leans towards old English. The type of words they were probably seeing in the bible. The way they write lets you understand how much they lived in fear of Satan, and how they perceived evil. Each testimony is a clear indicator of the women trying to keep the eyes off of them in any way possible, accusing multiple others of being around John Proctor. Those brought up in these discussions/ writings would try anything just to keep accusations off of them. John Proctor defends himself in the prison because he knows he is innocent. He knows the others in the prison with him are innocent as well. John Proctor states

that they were condemned before their trials basically just saying that everyone had made up their mind already about if they were witches or not. John states how the people were brought to confess only after being tortured until they bled from their noses. John was trying to show how wrong it was to torture confessions out of people by hanging them by there neck and heels until they bled. Johns letter was almost one last plea for their cases to be looked at once again. Stating how innocent each was, and how they only admitted to witchcraft to stop the horrible punishments that they were taking on. From what I have learned of the Salem Witch trials everyone lived in fear. Most claimed fear of the devil, but if you really look at it more in fear of themselves. They feared being accused and put to death, they feared causing any problems with anyone whether it be neighbors, friends, or family because of the fact that they did not want to be accused of witchcraft. One wrong move and you would be the innocent one on trial, for something that never happened. This was a crazy, dark time in our American history. Ideas were beginning to change and religion was changing slowly as well. At a time when people may not have been ready for a change in religion, the new instantly put fear in peoples minds. Instantly made them uneasy about their neighbors, and fear Satan in Salem, Massachusetts. John Proctor an innocent man accused of witchcraft was put on trial. A trial that he knew he should have never been at because he was an innocent man. 20 men and women died because of neighbors going against neighbors and making

wild accusations due to a change in their normal routine. The fear of change was put above all other fears they had.

SOURCES: Experience History Volume 1 Salt Lake Community College. Davidson/ DeLay/ Heyrman/ Lytle/ and Stoff