What role did the Puritans play in the Salem Witch Trials?

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It was the Puritans who were behind the Salem Witch Trials. At that time, Salem was a Puritan settlement, a Calvinist theocracy run on the basis of a narrow interpretation of Scripture. At that time, just about everyone believed in the existence of witches, so it wasn't difficult to convince...

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It was the Puritans who were behind the Salem Witch Trials. At that time, Salem was a Puritan settlement, a Calvinist theocracy run on the basis of a narrow interpretation of Scripture. At that time, just about everyone believed in the existence of witches, so it wasn't difficult to convince the God-fearing folk of Salem that they were lurking around every corner.

As die-hard Calvinists, Puritans were especially amenable to belief in witchcraft, as they also believed that man had been utterly and irredeemably depraved by the Fall, when Adam and Eve defied God by eating of the Tree of Knowledge. Thanks to our original ancestors, man was steeped in sin and it was only by the freely given grace of God that he could possibly be redeemed. Given the intensity with which such beliefs were held, it wasn't a huge stretch for the average Puritan to believe that outwardly respectable people, even clergymen, were secret practitioners of the diabolical arts.

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