Radicals, Conservatives, and the Salem Witchcraft Crisis: Exploiting the Fragile Communities of Colonial New England

Leiden Repository

Radicals, Conservatives, and the Salem Witchcraft Crisis: Exploiting the Fragile Communities of Colonial New England

Type: Master thesis
Title: Radicals, Conservatives, and the Salem Witchcraft Crisis: Exploiting the Fragile Communities of Colonial New England
Author: Griffiths, Megan Rose
Issue Date: 2017-06-29
Keywords: New England
Witchcraft
Radical
Conservative
Community
Colonial America
Abstract: The political, social and ecclesiastical anxiety and fragility of colonial New England was manipulated by two opposing groups‒the Radicals and the Conservatives‒both of whom helped cause, and exploited, the 1692 witchcraft crisis in Salem, Massachusetts. I identify the “Radicals” as a group of mostly young, female and poor individuals both instigating and reveling in the breakdown of an oppressive community. They were experimenting with a world turned upside-down, a grand social experiment both echoing and inverting the Puritan experiment Salem was built upon. The very society that oppressed them, Puritan New England, had set a precedent for dissent and the formation of a new, radical, society. I will argue the opposing group, the “Conservatives,” consisted of older, mostly male figures trying desperately to maintain the establishment. I will argue that their interpretation of the actions of the possessed was proposed with specific intent and was formative in the continuation of the crisis. The crisis was, therefore, not an inadvertent consequence of their fractured society, but a fulfilment of the desires of each group.
Supervisor: Kardux, Johanna C.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: North American Studies (Master)
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/49589
 

Files in this item

Description Size View
application/pdf MeganGriffithsMAThesis.pdf 741.4Kb View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)