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26 novembre 2012

The context, Salem Massachusetts, a new colony

Classé dans : text — witchcraftpopularbeliefsjusticeandsociety @ 22 h 42 min

Salem was a British colony founded in the 1630 in Massachusetts, mostly populated by puritans « fleeing persecution, disease and economical depression » in Great Britain. Above all the settlers’s desire was to build a new and perfect society based on their religious beliefs.

More generally the migration concerned all of Massachusetts state  whose new capital became Boston. Migrants came from Ireland,the Netherlandands and Rhineland.

Salem grew thanks to the fertility of the location, the flora and the fauna and thanks to trade. Several families made quick fortunes there, and despite of arrivals of undesired Quakers and some disagreements with the crown of England, puritans were the majority and preserved their rights guaranted by a charter delivered by Charles the 1st, the King of England in 1630.

We also have to consider that Massachusetts was acting more and more independently from the homeland due to the the political instability in England.

However, after the Civil War, relations between the colony and the new King  became more conflictual as the settlers lived by their own rules.  In 1685 Charles the 2nd revocated the old chart in response to those showing feelings of independancy of the colony. After he died, the new King, James the 2nd, sent a governor to confirm that new order and to affirm the government’s authority on its distant subjects.

The General Court of Massachusetts decided to send a representative to the Lords of Trade in order to claim the right to return under the legislation stipulated by the original charter. And so, Increase Mather left New England in 1688, then the Glorious Revolution occured in England, and when he finally came back to Massachusetts in 1692 with a new Chart signed by the new King William, the Salem trials had already begun.

The aim of that presentation of the political context is to bring us to consider the importance of the lack of real bounds in which Massachusetts’s and indirectly Salem’s settlers lived within. And that flaw was one of the causes of the dramatic affairs we had to consider.




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