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Salem Witch Controversy

             Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum argue that the Salem witchcraft hysteria was .
             caused by economic and social tension that emerged from commercial capitalism, .
             conflicts between ministers and congregations, and loss of family land which divided the .
             residents of Salem town and Salem village. The first three women accused of witchcrafts .
             were lower class outcasts, but in March of 1692 a new pattern of accusations emerged. .
             The overall direction of accusations, were people moving upward on the social ladder. .
             Several men with large estates in Boston, members of the government, and many more .
             upper class residents in and around New England. The geographic patterns also bring to .
             light more interesting facts. It seems as if the village was split into two halves. Out of 32 .
             adults who testified against the "witches," only two were from the eastern side of the .
             village, and the other 30 were from the western side. There were 29 villagers who .
             defended the accused and 24 of them were from the eastern side. There were cases where .
             some of the accused villagers were not recognized by the afflicted girls who had .
             apparently accused them. The Puritan temper was in Salem from the start. One village .
             with two separate ways of life, and an episode sparked by a new minister who had .
             brought with him Tituba, a west Indian slave. "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." .
             Boyer and Nissenbaum call this rebellious force of trying to gain status on the social .
             ladder mercantile capitalism. Salem called it witchcraft.
             Laurie Winn Carlson had a totally different explanation as to what occurred in .
             Salem year 1692. Residents began to suffer from strange physical and mental symptoms. .
             They experienced fits, hallucinations, temporary paralysis, and distracted random .
             rampages. Livestock was also getting ill. With limited medical knowledge, the only way .
             the doctors could explain this was witchcraft. By comparing symptoms recorded in the .

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