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Puritan Life

Page history last edited by Brandy French 13 years, 6 months ago

     1692 to 1693, the puritan law was the manner of life, in the years of the Salem witch trials. The Laws that were in place were the Laws of the Christian Bible which they followed deeply.




Even as the general consensus about the puritans, that they are synonymous for democracy and freedom, many of their practices and beliefs showed that rebellion against their fashion of life would not be tolerated. The puritan movement influences on American history states that puritan law in the colonized new world was harsh. Civil law also dominated and invaded business affairs and social relations. Puritan manner of life was extremely restrictive especially towards adult females. Women were taught to read so that they could read the bible, but few learned to write because there was no reason for a woman to write, writing was exclusive for men. Women were slaves to their father until they married and then they were inferior to their husbands. One law forbids the wearing of lace, another of "slashed" clothes other than one slash in each sleeve and another in the back, even the length and width of a woman's sleeve was decided by law. A man could not kiss his wife in public. A young man could not court a maid without the consent of her father. (Williams 196)





Various aspects of the historical context of this episode have been considered as specific contributing factors, because of the unusual size of the outbreak of witchcraft accusations. This small town, like many others was known for its many internal disputes between neighbors. The population was seen as "argumentative" by its neighbors and grazing rights were heated, as were arguments over property lines. The small town had become a parish separate from Salem town, but the Christian church quickly became a new centering of discontent, in 1672. Their first two ministers, the Reverend James Bayley and the Reverend George Burroughs, had both left the parish because of the animosity, because of the churchgoers’ refusal to pay them. Despite the ministers' rights being preserved by the general court and the parish admonished, they had each chose to go forth. The third minister, Deodat Lawson had not stayed, either, though apparently with less open conflict. There was disagreement about the choice of Samuel Parris as their next ordained minister, with only about half the parish in agreement to support him and to meet his many demands (including that he be granted the deed to the parsonage and its grounds). Ultimately, late in 1689, Parris agreed to accept terms of only ₤66 and the right of use only of the parsonage. www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/salem.htm  


Partly because he had kept the congregation waiting for nearly a year before accepting his position in Salem small town, feelings against him remained higher than was usual for a colonial minister. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials). He was even forced to find his own firewood. It seems he went out of his way to show how good standing churchgoers made small infractions, by making them public examples. In this atmosphere, serious conflict may have been inevitable. The beliefs that puritans held in the community added stresses. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials  Women were more likely to enlist in the devil's service because adult females were lustful by nature and they believed females should be subservient to adult males. Because of the size of the town secrets were unable to be kept, and the rumors that occurred were seen as fact. In a period of history when children were to be seen and not heard, this made kids at the bottom of the social ladder. A child’s toy or games was thought of as meaningless and frivolous and playing was unwanted. Girls had additional restrictions placed upon them and were trained from a young age to spin yarn, cook, sew, weave, serve their husbands and bear their children. In accordance with Puritan beliefs, most accused "witches" were unmarried or recently widowed land-owning women; according to the law if no legal heir existed upon the owner's death, title to the land reverted to the previous owner, or (if no previous owner could be determined) to the colony. This made witch-hunting a possible method of acquiring a profitable piece of property. (Williams 221)



Salem Witch Trials


Witchcraft or Mental Illness

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