British America became a more stable environment with mixed results due to these turning points. “The Enlightenment” was a period known for many advances. Disease was still strong, and Cotton Matter and Gabriel Boylston are credited for the first inoculation of any kind. The Enlightenment inspired new technology. Scientific advancement was by far the most interesting. Sir Isaac Newton is acknowledged with his theory of gravity and John Locke was accredited for noting the fact that knowledge is gained by experience. Up until these theories had been proved many people believed that spiritual Gods enthroned their destiny.
Advancement in education improved also, with many schools and colleges being formed. Studies of botany and plant life helped with crop growth and supported families. Many individual began medical training and surgery practices were proving to be safer than in the past. Religion was known to vary greatly between cultural groups. The Great Awakening was a wave of religious revivals. It quickly swept thru New England and increased conversions and church memberships. It was once believed that life was predestined by God, but the happenings of the Great Awakening ended that notion.
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The movement shattered the existing church structure of the colonies, as congregations wakened to the teaching style or revivalist, or New Light, ministries. There views were liberal, explaining the consequences of leading a “bad life”. We are able to compare the events of the Salem Witch trials with that of the changes that occurred during the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. First, let’s look at the events of the Salem Witch trials. The Salem Witch trials which occurred in 1692, proves how difficult the period of life for the Salem Village was back in those times.
Salem was under British rule, since it was part f the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Unfortunately, there was no tranquility in New England in the town of Salem. The town itself was divided into two sections, those who wanted to separate from the town, and those who didn’t. Those who wanted to separate were the farming families – the individuals who made their well being from crops. The ones who wanted to remain a part of the Salem Town were the individuals located on the eastern side of the Salem Village. They were economically tied to the thriving rich harbors.
The farming families felt that the eastern side of town’s thriving economy was too individualistic – which was in opposition to the communal nature that Puritanism demanded. Soon, conflict arose and individuals were being accused of being “witches”. They blamed any bad event on the Devil and said certain individuals conspired with him to complete the deed. Trials were held and deaths were the penalty. Mostly women were the accused, although a few men were accused also. The trials ended with the command from Governor Phipps ordered the trials to stop after his own wife was accused.
The importance of witchcraft lost some importance after Salem, since many f the unexplained deeds could now be explained by science. Religion still carried an important role, but now people were not so apt to blame the Devil or witches for bad luck. Through the Enlightenment era, many people were now receiving an education and could explain the phenomenon with a scientific reasoning. With the wave of religious revivals , new colleges were formed since a need for ministerial training had come about. British America had now become more of a stable place. Education and religion thrived, and immigrants brought over new ideas and ways of life.