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The Crucible - Power, Justice, and Authority

             Power, justice, and authority are not things one often thinks of in our modern society. In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, these three ideas play an important role in the daily lives of the Puritans. The power of false accusations, the judicial system, and consequences of abusive authority had a severe impact on theses people's lives, especially during the time of the Salem witch trials.
             False accusations, often for personal benefit, were the major basis of the Salem witch trials. The young girls accused of being witches began accusing others in the village in order to save themselves from punishment. This only escalated into more dramatic events as the witch hunt progressed. More and more people began turning on each other in order to save themselves and in some cases to increase personal wealth. These accusations cause the needless deaths of many innocent people and similar events still occur in modern times. An example of this is during the early fifties in the "red scare" where people were paranoid about communism. The "red scare" brought about the House Committee of Un-American Activities; people where brought before the committee and were asked to expose any communists that they knew or be labeled a communist themselves.
             The judicial system during the time of the Puritans was very primitive by today's standards. The system was based mostly on the bible and had limited understanding for anything outside the norm. This is obvious in the fact that dancing was frowned upon by Puritan's so much that it was a punishable offense. This lead to severe punishment for things we do on a daily basis. Thankfully, our judicial system has developed greatly since the time of the Puritans, but we are still guilty of punishing people of strange reasons. Such examples are our placement of Japanese in internment camps during WWII, our House Committee of Un-American Activities, and in the early nineteenth century our Alien and Sedition Acts(alien and sedition Acts deal with deporting immigrants and silencing anti-American critics).

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