Witch Hunting Then & Now- The Red Scare

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Witch Hunting Then & Now- The Red Scare

Witch Hunting Then & Now


From a historical perspective, the concept of Witch hunting was often implied to assess whether a person was guilty for the acts or not. In the colonial American history, Salem witchcraft is the most prominent incident which took place in 1962. The witchcraft began in 1962 and numerous legal, political and survival factors caused its occurrence. As early as in 1962, in the house of Samuel Parris, a circle of young girls started to meet each other in the house. This house was located in the village Salem (Walton, 1996). The young girls' clique included girls from many prominent households in the village.

Even the later generations were affected by the witchcraft. The victims of the Salem tragedy were never released and died. In 1963, for the early trial 52 accused witches were called while 49 were released because their cases lacked substantial evidence. The witchcraft is probably one of the most tragic incidents in colonial history. Among the most influential were the racial, social, sexually hostile and oppositional acts against law during the Salem Witchcraft. These reasons are quite complex and no single explanation is sufficient to comprehend the reasons. In American history, the Salem Witchcraft plays an ironic role. As for McCarthyism, a Republican US senator Joseph McCarthy searched for elements of Communism in the United States of America (Christopher & Mitrokhin, 2000).


Political Reasons behind the Witch-Hunt

During the 16th & 17th century in Europe, religious conflicts of varying intensities occurred. Incidents that cause violence such as wars, instability of economy and confusion in the politics could be traced back to religious disagreements in the past. The thirty year war and the Dutch revolt are a few prime examples of issues provoked by the Protestant reformation. A chaos was permeated especially in the Christian regimes and led to many religious conflicts i.e. wars and rebellions. A decreased governmental control led to an outbreak of central authority. These issues catalyzed the ground conditions which led to the witchcraft.

Another vital reason behind the religious violence and confusions were the acts decentralization prevalent at the time (Oster, 2004). It was due to decentralization of power which led to conducive conditions for witch hunting. Similarly, there were several political factors which fueled the process. Matthew Hopkins was a renowned witch hunter. During the civil war, he claimed to hold the office of witch finder. Between the periods of 1661-1662, a Great Scottish witch hunter is believed to hunt over 206 witches. During that period, a historic event took place when the English Justices were replaced by Scottish. Over 150 people were imprisoned during 1692-1693 in the Salem village.

During that time, a dispute over the minster emerged and was believed to compromise the political authority in the region. The trial of Salem village served as only a temporary vacuum in the authority. It is evident from the political theory that once the authority and power was centralized and the overall stability was ...
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