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The Salem Witch Trials and Cotton Mather

The Salem Witch Trials were a series of trials in Salem Massachusetts in which people were executed that were believed to be a witch, Cotton Mather was the possible cause. It started in the 15th century, in Europe. It was believed by many at that time that the devil was present and active on earth. From 1560-1670, witchcraft persecutions in Europe became common as superstitions became associated with the devil.

     The city of Salem was the most common city in this time to believe in and persecute witches. Because of the thought that the devil flowed through people, if negative events occurred to them, they would be accused of being a witch, then be taken to the Salem Witch Trials. The witch trials occurred between February 1692 and May 1693. Because of many False accusation and Convictions, the witch trials were frowned upon by the local people.

     Cotton Mather, who was a Boston Minister in the 1690’s, believed in witchcraft and that it should be eradicated. He was born in 1663 and attended Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard at the age of 15. He joined his father in the ministry after completing his post-grad work and became a pastor of the North Church in 1675. Mather wrote more than 50 books and pamphlets and participated in the Great Awakening in the 17th century. Most of Mather’s writings included bits and pieces of his own personal life or were written for personal reasons. Mather’s preaching called the second and third generation colonists to revival and higher moral standard.

      Many believed that Mather was the reason for the Salem Witch Trials. His objective was not to indicate a witch hunt, but to bring the colony back to the high moral standards of the church. The most famous witch trial were in Salem and were great loss for many people in that time, that were considered a witch.


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