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How could one consider the Salem Witch Trials of 1962/63 an act of Domestic Terrorism? 

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tlclaclkc | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 26, 2013 at 5:43 PM via web

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How could one consider the Salem Witch Trials of 1962/63 an act of Domestic Terrorism? 

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tlclaclkc | Student , Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM (Answer #1)

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My Bad!!  1692/63? 

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM (Answer #2)

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The original question had to be edited down.  I would suggest that one would have to be willing to examine the conditions of domestic terrorism in light of the girls' actions in Salem.  Consider the Justice Department's definition of domestic terrorism as a starting point:

The unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

It is from this point where analysis can commence.  Certainly, Abigail and the girls use "force" through accusations to "intimidate."  The girls' are able to "intimidate or coerce a government" in how they carry themselves.  In Act III, Abigail acts so offended at merely being questioned that she threatens to walk out of the courthouse, thereby coercing Hathorne and Danforth to believe her.  At the same time, the accusations that are levied are specifically intended to strike at members of the civilian population.  Sarah Good, Tituba, Elizabeth Proctor, and Rebecca Nurse are examples of the "civilians" who are impacted and targeted by the girls' accusations.  Finally, the advancement of this agenda is designed to further the girls' "social objectives."  In evading punishment for what they did in the woods to Abigail's coveting of Proctor, the girls accuse based on the advancement of a social objective to further their control. The terrorism that the girls cause in the drama can be supported with the Justice Department's definition.  With this definition, I think that the actions of the girls in drama can be seen as acts of domestic terrorism.

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