Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch-hunt, 1692-93


Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch-hunt, 1692-93


  • Glorious revolution
  • Indian threats
  • economic crisis
  • religious tensions
  • class divisions
  • deeply puritan society
  • acceptance of spectral evidence


  • caused a changed political environment and allowed for rebellion to take hold, disturbed by outside forces, lack of legal authority and could be seen as the devil at work
  • residents became wary and could be the victim of attacks, in which they viewed the Indians as 'devil-worshippers' and those who made initial accusations would have been affected by the attacks
  • economy destroyed after first Indian War which would have caused poverty
  • they preferred to interpret crop failures, illnesses etc as the work of the devil, which would promote the idea of witches, especially if others had different religious beliefs to them
  • caused jealousies when one half was more successful than the other, could promote accusations when harvest is poor
  • meant fear of the devil and witches was part of everyday life
  • allowed the trials to continue, even if evidence was not there so made the hunt easier

Overall summary

The impact of Indian threats can be viewed as the most important when viewing why the witch-hunt occurred as this was an instigator for the economic crisis to follow. However, the glorious revolution is also important as this paved the way for individuals to step forward and promote the witch-hunt, whilst authority was absent following Andros' arrest 


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