The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in by Gretchen A. Adams PDF
By Gretchen A. Adams
In "The Specter of Salem", Gretchen A. Adams finds the various ways in which the Salem witch trials loomed over the yankee collective reminiscence from the Revolution to the Civil battle and past. Schoolbooks within the 1790s, for instance, evoked the episode to illustrate the recent nation's growth from a disorderly and brutal prior to a rational current, whereas critics of recent spiritual pursuits within the 1830s solid them as a go back to Salem-era fanaticism, and through the Civil battle southerners evoked witch burning to criticize Union strategies. laying off new gentle at the many, assorted American invocations of Salem, Adams eventually illuminates the functionality of collective stories within the lifetime of a kingdom.
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Extra info for The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America
And accusations of a crime that was understood by all to have its roots in personal animosity against a stranger like Captain John Alden brought additional confusion to the proceedings as they spread through neighboring towns. In short, the established and understood signs by which to identify those who would do maleficium were eliminated for one short season, and everyone was potentially at risk. If everyone could be guilty, some had to wonder, then was it possible that no one was guilty? Certainly twenty-six men in the neighboring town of Andover asked this question when protesting the cases against their neighbors in mid-October 1692.
It was often the last chance to publicly assert the good reputation of a lost loved one (or to rehabilitate one’s own), even while it reminded the government that the abuse of spectral evidence in the Salem cases violated the legal requirement for empirical evidence in such cases. 27 By December 1692, only two months after the suspension of the trials, criticism of the process itself crept into petitions, and known good character was minimized or eliminated as the primary grounds for relief. This language became the standard basis for requesting relief in petitions related to the trials through the eighteenth century.
In the dispute about taxation on the eve of the American Revolution in 1774, Loyalist Daniel Leonard (writing as “Massachusettensis”) defended the British government’s imposing a duty on tea. ” Such passivity, he claimed, had “less to be said in excuse for it than the witchcraft” that was also a product of that time. Salem appeared in 36 chapter one Adams’s diary that same year in an entry marking the third anniversary of the Boston Massacre. ”61 In these late eighteenth-century appearances of Salem’s witch hunt in print, whether in political commentary or in histories as a lesson to be remembered and heeded, there are some common threads.
The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America by Gretchen A. Adams