The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History / Edition 1

The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History / Edition 1

by Peter Charles Hoffer
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0700608591

ISBN-13: 9780700608591

Pub. Date: 10/28/1997

Publisher: University Press of Kansas

In late seventeenth-century New England, the eternal battle between God and Satan was brought into the courtroom. Between January 1692 and May 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, neighbors turned against neighbors and children against parents with accusations of witchcraft, and nineteen people were hanged for having made pacts with the devil.

Peter Charles Hoffer, a

Overview

In late seventeenth-century New England, the eternal battle between God and Satan was brought into the courtroom. Between January 1692 and May 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, neighbors turned against neighbors and children against parents with accusations of witchcraft, and nineteen people were hanged for having made pacts with the devil.

Peter Charles Hoffer, a historian long familiar with the Salem witchcraft trials, now reexamines this notorious episode in American history and presents many of its legal details in correct perspective for the first time. He tells the real story of how religious beliefs, superstitions, clan disputes, and Anglo-American law and custom created an epidemic of accusations that resulted in the investigation of nearly two hundred colonists and, for many, the ordeal of trail and incarceration. He also examines life during this crisis period of New England history—a time beset by Indian wars, disease, severe weather, and challenges to Puritan hegemony—to show how an atmosphere of paranoia contributed to this outbreak of persecution.

Hoffer examines every aspect of this history, from accusations to grand jury investigations to the conduct of the trials themselves. He shows how rights we take for granted today—such as rules of evidence and a defendant's right to legal counsel—did not exist in colonial times, and he demonstrates how these cases relate to current instances of children accusing adults of abuse.

The Salem Witchcraft Trials, a concise history written expressly for students and general readers, contains much new material not found in the author's earlier work. It sheds important light on the period and shows that our horror of these infamous proceedings must be tempered with sympathy for a people who gave in to panic in the face of a harsh and desolate existence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700608591
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Series:
Landmark Law Cases and American Society Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
244,040
Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.54(d)

Table of Contents

Editors' Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Newcomers on the Road to Salem

2. The Village

3. Witchcraft Suspected

4. The Accusers

5. The Magistrates and the Suspects

6. The Judges, the Ministers, and the Law

7. The Disreputable Woman

8. The Good Wife

9. The Scoffers

10. The Hard Man

11. The End of the Trials

12. Apologies

Conclusion

Chronology

Bibliographical Essay

Index

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