The Influence of Cotton Mather Essay
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The Influence of Cotton Mather
“The Salem witchcraft trials,” a phrase not too often heard these days in everyday conversation. Witches burning at the stake, or drowning in a tub of water, and perhaps the most humane way of their execution, hanging. This piece of American history is a prudent example of how everyday people can, and were, be lead astray from what would normally be considered ridiculous and preposterous ideas, into something that warrants these horrible means of human demise. What or more importantly who was responsible for this catastrophic loss of life? The Quaker society of colonial America was where these events took place. The term Quaker refers to a member of a religious sect called The Society of Friends,…show more content…
His major publications were Wonders of the Invisible World in 1693, Magnalia Christi Americana in 1702, Bonifacius year 1710, Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions in 1689 and several others. What type of man was Cotton Mather? What did he value? And how did his writing reflect his beliefs?
Let us first start by evaluating a writing related to the events described above, The Wonders of the Invisible World. In this publication, Mather makes many references to accounts of eyewitness testimonies and confessions of the accused; not only to justify, but also to prove that the Salem witchtrials were a God sanctioned attack against Satanic works. Mather says, “He (the devil) has wanted incarnate legions to persecute us, as the people of God have in the other hemisphere been persecuted: he (the devil) has therefore drawn upon his more spiritual ones to make an attack upon us.” (2) Mather’s use of the term “spiritual ones,” is meant to represent the accused witches of the time. Witches, Mather believes, are the work of the devil. Throughout this writing Mather quotes from the Bible. Mather knows that the people of his church would not dare question the validity of the Bible. So, by choosing specific verses that favor the intended goal of his writings he is able to add rock solid validity to the statements he is making to the members of his church. References to past situations illustrated in the Bible prove to Mathers’ audience that these
Analysis of The Wonders of the Invisible World Essay Sample
By admin In Essay Samples On August 25, 2017
In this primary papers. Cotton Mather. a Puritan theologist. writes about his frights of losing the full state to the Satan and his minions as the Christian faith. in his head. is being easy eradicated from the full state due to witchcraft. In 1693 Cotton Mather wrote a literary piece called The Wonders of the Invisible World a twelvemonth after questionable events in defence of the persecutions of those accused and convicted in Salem for witchery. Throughout the papers. Mather is invariably picturing the Devil and liquors as really existent. touchable enemies ( e. g. descriptions of “invisible hands” and unexplained supernatural occurrences ) . that were easy infecting the Christian people of the new settlements. Mather besides can’t emphasis enough the importance of the Christian church and the feeling he had of it being under onslaught.
In the beginning of the papers. he explains that the ground the Devil is so inexorable to assail is because the new colonists disturbed him by claiming the land under the name of Jesus Christ. Apart from his descriptions of the unusual events. Mather besides talks about the confessions of the alleged “witches” . More than 21 people in the settlement confessed to being under the bid of the Devil after subscribing a book as if they were stating in a manner. they had sold their psyches. Though they confessed nevertheless. he does non advert what their penalties were after being convicted. This may propose that though he is verifying the events to. so. be existent and the strong beliefs justifiable. the executings ( if any ) may non be. Today. most people would likely jeer and be outraged at such crackbrained events. However. when analysing a papers from such a different period of our history. it’s really of import to seek and conceive of what the people of the clip were traveling through to do them travel to such utmost decisions.
The most of import thing to recognize about the people from this clip period is how unstable everything was. They were still settling into this new universe that had infinite terra incognitas and so far their quality of life was non the best. They were invariably paranoid of the adjacent indigens assailing them ( or any foreigners ) and merely interacting with such a unusual civilization in general. To them. these people were wild. cruel and. most significantly. non Christian. The fact that they had to larn how to settle into a new topographic point was difficult plenty and holding to cover with such a different.
even foreigner. life style of another people was merely excessively much to absorb to. Another terrorizing unknown they had to get by with were the new diseases they were get downing to contract and the meagre handiness of nutrient. Though they had dealt with some of these back in their fatherland. it was likely a batch easier to surmise and fault eruptions and a hapless agribusiness on outside forces.
To the people. covering with these created so much fright that making surrogate and extrasensory accounts made more sense for their difficult lives. Though are many more fortunes that could hold helped fuel the fire of fright. one of the more of import theories to analyse is how the position of adult females was altering and how adult females were get downing to outnumber the work forces reasonably rapidly. Because of the new Puritanical beliefs and patterns. adult females were get downing to hold more of a function and state in society ( one apart from the traditional submissive homemaker ) . Women were merely get downing to hold on the thought that they were free to show themselves and non conform to the thought of being capable to a adult male and work forces were terrified of this. Throughout history. we see many illustrations of fright being the cause of mindless Acts of the Apostless. We have. unluckily. inherited the fright of aliens. unusual looking persons or groups of people. and even more so. alteration. When faced with these. it is in our nature to move out brutally and violently when we feel threatened by things we can non command.
For illustration. during the mid 1700s in the plantations of the South. many black slaves were massacred and executed because the frights of rebellions against the slave proprietors and the white society in general. Another illustration would be the Red Scare of 1920 that erupted in Boston and Seattle that started with the fright of a communist authorities taking over. Because of this panic. several rebellions broke out and multiple bombs were delivered and detonated. One last illustration is how in today’s society. even though we try to claim to hold an equal and merely state. our people are still so frightened of aliens and extremist alteration that we are invariably suppressing different groups of people based on gender. sexual orientation. race. faith. etc.
In decision. even though Mather seemed to warrant the strong beliefs of the 21 persons based on his belief of the Devil and evil liquors interrupting the freshly developed Christian societies. the implicit in grounds for the persecutions were due to the fright of alteration and covering with foreign civilizations. Those events of persecution based on frights were non the first nor will they be last. Even though we continuously repeat history by allowing our frights cause pandemonium and persecutions. there are ever those that stand up for peace and convey us back to the realisation that we can. overtime. accept alteration.
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