Puritan men believed that women were given to them to be good wives and helpers. Women were viewed as stay at home mothers who cared for the children, cooked, and cleaned while the men were to be out working and providing for their families. Since men had this duty to care for their families, women viewed marriage as the only way to get financial security since they were so limited on what they could do. Women were at the hands of men and were expected do everything they were told. The reasoning behind women being inferior to men stems from the story of Adam and Eve. Eve ate the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the serpent who was the devil and disobeyed god. Due to Eve’s actions all women are viewed as weak and vulnerable to falling into a life of sin. Women were accused of witchcraft a majority of the time due to their susceptibility of weakness. Typically, women over the age of forty or divorced were more likely to be accused of being witches because they did not have a man in their life to take care of them. Often times if a woman inherited land from her family she was accused because it was seen that only men were supposed to have ownership over property. Historian Sandra VanBurkleo states, “the belief in women’s susceptibility to Satan originated not only in physical weakness but also in the sex’s allegedly small talent for reasoning and in the continuing power of Genesis”. Men did not believe that women had the ability to live a morally correct life and felt that God gave them the power to handle women in any way they felt necessary.It is human nature to follow instincts and do what seems morally correct. Humans are emotional creatures and try their best to make sense of the world around them. Often times religion is a way to cope with the known and unknown aspects the world has to offer. In the case of the Puritans, they truly believed what they were doing was in favor of God. They followed him and his teachings and tried to live a life that would please him. When faced with situations and events that did not make sense to them they turned to their faith and felt as if God was testing them. God was allowing the Devil to walk among them in order to see who would fall to his temptations. The Puritans did what they knew best which was to be true to God and to punish those who went against him. They did not use physical evidence to prove if a person signed the Devil’s book to gain powers, but they relied on their faith. Their faith is what dominated their lives and their actions went hand in hand with events that they tried to explain but did not truly understand. The Salem Witch Trials was an event where the power of religion and its influence on people was strongly correlated and made people act in ways that in which today’s society does not make sense. These trials show that a person cannot be found guilty of a crime against humanity based off words or superstitions because many innocent people died. It goes to show the importance of physical evidence and the importance of trustworthy testimony that is not fueled by bias.
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