Salem Witch Trials
posted by blah on .
how do historians interpret theses events? do they think they were necessary in order for the society to advance
No. The witch trials were an aberration and took a step backward in the advancement of society. They attempted to blame a scapegoat for society's ills. This theme was later repeated when the Nazis blamed the Jews for Germany's economic problems and Senator McCarthy blamed liberals for political problems.
ok....but indoing so (blaming a scapegoat for society's ills) how did it affect the society enough in making it take a step back?
If you want to read an excellent piece of fiction on this, read Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible". If you can find a copy with notes and commentary you'll learn plenty about the salem witch hunts. You'll also see how Miller compared/contrasted that event to the communist hearings of McCarthy which were taking place when that play was first published. Miller's very informative in my opinion.
Often it takes an atrocious event that shocks our conscience, and unsettles us so much that we are forced to confront the beliefs and demagogues that let to the event. Sometimes we adjust our behavior (and laws). Examples:
The witch persecutions and trials
McCarthy "communist" hunt
Killing of civil rights workers
Killing of abortion clinic workers
Attack on gay men, including killing
The shooting by the FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi of a woman holding her baby at Ruby Ridge.
The overreaction of the ATF at Waco with the religous sect, and the subsequent actions of the FBI.
President Nixon's involvement in Watergate.
So, what I am relating, is that the witch persecutions were so blatantly wrong, we did step back, and rethink our basic precepts. History is full of examples. Remember, the witch persecutions in America can not be thought of separately from the witch persuctions in Europe, which had been going on for two hundred years. There are some pretty horrible descriptions of these recorded. http://www.gendercide.org/case_witchhunts.html
Who did the killing?
what was the outcome of the Salem witch trials