How accurate is it to say that persecution of Witches was most intense in areas where influential people were able to promote action against witches?

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How accurate is it to say that persecution was most intense in areas where influential people
were able to promote action against witches?
Between the years 1580-1650 the persecution of witches was quite intense. Witches had become a
more apparent part of society due to the greater mention of it in the New Testament. The church had
started to preach against witches and the devil and even developed a theory suggesting witches
made a pact with the devil suggesting they were the enemy of God. Levels of witch hunting and
persecution depended on many factors but it is accurate to say that the persecution of witches was
most intense in areas where influential people were able to promote action against witches in many
forms including literature. However other factors influenced the persecution of witches. The strength
of government control and the strength of legal systems affected the persecution of witches along
with social and economic factors such as civil war and plague.
It is accurate to say that the persecution of witches between 1580-1650 was most intense in areas
where influential people were able to promote action against witches by means such as literature. In
Scotland influential people played a large role in the persecution of witches. James VI, King of
Scotland, became paranoid about maleficia and acted against witchcraft to a great extent in Scotland
through his works in 1997 including Demonology. James I promoted the persecution of witches
through the Scottish witchcraft act of 1563 and his favour towards torture as a means of gaining
confessions. James's support for the persecution drove locals to participate in the persecution of
witches in their own villages making the witch-hunts more intense. This shows a from above example
of how the persecution of witches escalated. Similarly to Scotland the role of influential people also
made the persecution of witches more intense in Germany. Germany was a part of the Holy Roman
Empire which was split so different princes' controlled different areas respectively. One of these
princes was Cologne Archbishop Ferdinand of Bavaria who was very similar to James I in the way he
supported the persecution of the witches. His influence promoted many in his area to increase the
number of witch-hunts and a witch panic was created making the persecution of witches more
intense. Also in Germany, the book written by Heinreich Insitoris and Jacob Sprenger in 1486, Malleus
Malificarum was being printed and spread. This book promoted action against witches and influenced
those that read it. The elite, especially judges read malleus malificarum, who then began to base
their trials off Malleus Malificarum and became more biased against the suspects. This created more
suspicion towards the witches and the number of successful trials increased. This demonstrates the
persecution of witches just like Scotland, was most intense in Germany where influential people such
as Ferdinand and Heinreich were able to promote action against witches. Unlike Germany and
Scotland England did not have prominent individual throughout a sustained period of time and
witch-hunts in England were not as intense as in Scotland and Germany. The most intense period of
witch persecution in England was between 1644-45 during the civil war. In 1644 Matthew Hopkins
and John Stearne acted as professional witch hunters and themselves created suspicion and
accusation of witches in the east of England. Hopkins and Stearne acted as catalysts to the witch
persecution and due to their presence and influence a witch panic was created with over 200
executions in just 6 months, this emphasises the point of the importance of influential people in
promoting action against witches. Scotland, England and Germany all demonstrate that it is accurate
to say that the persecution of witches was most intense in areas where influential people were able
to promote action against witches.
However the strength of government control and the legal systems between 1580-1650 also
contributed to more intense persecution of witches. In Scotland James's government had a lot of
influence over large courts and parliament, which allowed him to pass laws promoting action against
witches. These laws included the 1604 `Act against conjuration, witchcraft and dealing with wicked
spirits', which made the act of witchcraft a capital offence punishable by death, along with this act,
the laws regarding torture were not enforced by the Scottish government due to James's bias
against witches, which led to greater use of illegal torture in local communities, such as sleep
deprivation, in an effort to gain confessions. The harsh acts against witches and the leniency towards

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Likewise England also had
strong government control with parliament and the monarchs, including Elizabeth I and James I,
having a lot of control over England. Be that as it may unlike Scotland the number of witch
persecutions were much less than Scotland as the government carefully ensured the number of false
accusations were kept to a minimum. The main reason however for the lower number of
prosecutions is attributed to the strength of the English legal systems.…read more

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The English civil war between 1639-1651 was the main factor leading to the more
intense persecution for a number of reasons. Predominantly the civil war meant the Assize court
could not travel around England to hear witch trials, which left the trials in the hands of locals, such as
Hopkins and Stearne who were very influential and promoted action against witchcraft, and local
courts had much higher conviction rates than circuit courts. Like England Germany had many other
social problems such as the plague.…read more

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