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Salem Witch Trials

In the summer of 1692, ignorance and fear ruled over Puritan Salem, Massachusetts. Several men and women stood trial for witchcraft. People called them witches and believed the devil had given them special powers. Nineteen of the accused were judged guilty and put to death by hanging. Another was crushed to death for not pleading guilty. Many others suffered and some died as a result of the turmoil and mistreatment.

Lesson Plans | Primary Sources |

 

Lesson Plans:

Salem Witch Trials / The Crucible - In order to bring home the emotional power of the Salem witch trials, devote time to a whole-class dramatic reading of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. This lesson also ties in Arthur Miller, McCarthyism and the black list.

Colonial America / Salem Witch Trials
- Students will understand basic facts about the Salem Witch Trials and different theories for the hysteria. Explore primary source documents to understand the stories of various people involved in the trials. Write a fictional first-hand account as if living in Salem Village in 1692, which reflects one or more of the theories. Describe characteristics of Puritanism and its role in 17th-century Salem.

Primary Source Documents:

Petition for Bail from the Accused Witches - In 1692 the famous Salem, Massachusetts, witchcraft trials took place, and that summer hundreds of people in the colony were arrested. Shown here is an appeal from ten women "besides thre or foure men" who were confined without trial in the Ipswich jail for many months. The petitioners--some "fettered with irons," some pregnant, and all "weake and infirme"--request that they be released on "bayle" to stand trial the following spring so that they do not "perish with cold" during the winter months.


Transcripts from the Salem Witch Trials - Verbatim Transcriptions of the Court Records of the Salem Witch Trials In three volumes.

 

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Arthur Miller

 

 

 

 

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