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            During the late 1600s, a large number of residents in the town of Salem, New England were accused of witchcraft. In total one hundred eighteen people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and out of that number nineteen were convicted and burned at the stake. There were many reasons that caused the population of this small Puritan village to accuse and convict so many residents of witchcraft. .
             It is first important to understand the events that were occurring during this time period and that lead up to the tragic events that we know today as the Salem Witch Trials. During this time, the people of New England were faced with many hardships, which are shown in documents E, and F. They included the Indians (who occupied the surrounding lands) defeating the Puritan forces, and continuing to slaughter the Puritans in large numbers. No one was safe from the brutal and sudden attacks launched by the Indians, who hoped to gain back their land. .
             In addition to the attacks launched by the Indians, document Four outlines many other hardships including the smallpox epidemic, military defeats, and very cold winters. In order to find a cause for these hardships the people began to blame it on the works of the Devil himself, and those who worshiped him or practiced witchcraft.
             Another cause believed to have led to the witch trials was the lack of farmland as illustrated in document D. According to this document, the amount of land available was greatly declining, but the population was not. This left many young men with new families, but without the land needed to start a farm and business for themselves. .
             This is a major concept in the cause of the witch trials because, as shown in document B and L, 76% of the victims of witchcraft were men who accused elderly women with no male heirs to their land of being witches. Thus, if they were convicted the land would become available these men.

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