Scope: Lecture Twenty-Three focuses on the social history of witchcraft, attempting to answer a number of questions. Who were the people accused of witchcraft? To which social classes did they belong? Who were the accusers? To which social classes did they belong? The lecture seeks to draw a social profile of those who were brought to trial on charges of witchcraft and Satanism through the close exploration of two case studies. These case studies present a vivid picture of witchcraft trials in Essex (England) in the mid-seventeenth century and in Salem, Massachusetts, in the late seventeenth century. The lecture compares the social backgrounds, ages, and genders of those brought to trial in Essex with the famous American case study, that of the Salem witch trials in late seventeenth-century North America.
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