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Salem 1692: Economic and Social Divisions
Transcript of Salem 1692: Economic and Social Divisions
By: Likhitha Butchireddygari
and Katelyn Larossa
There was a huge conflict between the poor, religious farmers and the rich merchants due to the fact that the rich merchants were affiliated with Salem Town because they lived close to the Salem Town than the rest. The poor farmers were within the heart of Salem Village. This economic class divide worsened when Reverend Samuel Parris, a strict Puritan who castigated economic prosperity claiming that that was the way of the Devil, was elected minister.
"Life in Salem 1692." Discovery Education. Discovery Education, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.
Latner, Richard B. "The Salem Witchcraft Site." Parris Petitions. Tulane University, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.
Woods, Geraldine. The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Headline Court Case. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2000. Print.
During the late 1600s, Salem Town was a prosperous port for business and commerce; however, it was lacking in agriculture. Thus was the origin of Salem Village, a small farming community with extremist Puritan views. Salem Village separated from Salem Town in 1692; however, there was still hostility there. From this hostility and Puritan culture arose economic and social divisions within Salem in 1692.
Connection to Witch Trials
The economic division created a motive for the farming villagers to accuse the merchants of witchcraft, further propagating the trials. It would also not be unreasonable to assume Reverend Parris's advocacy of the trials through his impassioned sermons was fired by his disinclination for the merchants.
The social division of Salem revolved around the approval (or lack thereof) of Reverend Parris. In 1695, people not approving of Parris wrote a petition of 84 signatures hoping that this would pressure church elders to remove Parris from his position. Supporters of Parris soon responded with their own petition.
Connection to Witch Trials
Most of the anti-Parris supporters were against the witch trials and pro-Parris supporters promoted them. This is also in accordance with the economic divisions, as poorer people supported Parris and witch trials and the richer people were against Parris's extremist Puritan values and the witch trials.