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U.S. History/salem witch trials

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Question
hello my name is ella and i am very interested in the salem witch trials and was wondering if you could answer some questions i have,
in your opinion:
-why did witches pose such a threat? and why such horrific
measures?
-why do you think the church accused girls of witchcraft in the first place?
-What were some of the reasons the witch trials started?
-How and why did they end?
-Could a girl get her charges dropped after being convicted or was she as good as dead?
-Do you think witches ever real and do you think they exist today?
-Could this travesty ever happen again? In this country or another.
-Did this event effect the future in any way or do you think this country would be as it is if this event never happened?
if it is possible id love to call you and talk more about these questions

Answer
Hi Ella,

In the 1600's the Massachusetts Colony was populated by a deeply religious people who wanted a government based on the Bible.  The Bible itself says that witchcraft is an evil.  The Old Testament says that witches should be killed.  The people at that time believed witchcraft was real and that witches could do very real harm to people.

The church did not accuse anyone of witchcraft.  A group of girls brought charges to the Church that certain women within the community were practicing witchcraft and causing harm.  Church leaders then investigated those charges.  One of those first accused, a slave named Tituba, openly admitted that she practiced witchcraft and said that many others did as well.  This opened up a much larger investigation that led to the eventual trial and execution of many people.

Not everyone accused was found guilty.  Further, if you admitted to having practiced witchcraft and that you regretted it and sought forgiveness, you could have escaped execution.  It was those who refused to admit their participation who were executed.

There are people today who openly practice witchcraft.  It takes many forms around the world, including Wiccans, practitioners of black magic, etc.  Whether witches really have magical powers or can summon the power of the devil is a religious view.  I don't really know

There are witch trials today.  Saudi Arabia recently executed several accused witches.  There have been others in various middle eastern and African countries in recent years.  It would not happen in this country because the Constitution's right to freedom of religion gives citizens the right to practice witchcraft if they like.  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

Publications
http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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