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This paper examines the life of Cotton Mather who lived a life devoted to prayer and ministry, became one of the most famous Puritans of all time, and wrote prodigiously throughout his career. In particular, the paper discusses how Mather is an interesting historical figure because he lived and worked in early Boston, and he was an integral factor in the Salem Witch trials, which persecuted many men and women, accusing them of witchcraft and putting many to death for their supposed crimes.
From the Paper:"Mather is probably most well known for his involvement in the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Although he was a scientist by nature, he also profoundly believed in witchcraft. He knew many of the judges presiding over the trials, and they came to him for advice because he had written a popular book on witchcraft. Another writer states, "Mather believed that the troubles in Salem Village were due to a 'horrible witchcraft.' Yet throughout his letter, he pleaded for caution and discretion. In particular, Mather urged the judges to use 'specter' evidence with care" (Gragg 87). Mather attended many of the trials, and wrote accounts of them and how the judges ruled, along with several other esteemed ministers of the time. He also preached about the trials and published accounts of them, often with damning comments about the reputations of those on trial. He also believed that the situation in Salem represented that the Earth was facing a second coming of Jesus Christ, or was coming to a disastrous end. Author Gragg continues, "His interpretation of scripture led Mather to conclude that the second coming was near and that the Devil was seizing the brief time he had remaining" (Gragg 147). "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Gildrie, Richard P. The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679-1749. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.
- Gragg, Larry. The Salem Witch Crisis. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992.
- Oldfield, Bruce Kirk. "Science and Religion in Colonial America: The Early Days." Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table (2006).
- Williams, Julie Hedgepeth. The Significance of the Printed Word in Early America: Colonists' Thoughts on the Role of the Press. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Cite this Term Paper:
Cotton Mather (2012, October 19) Retrieved September 20, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/cotton-mather-151885/
"Cotton Mather" 19 October 2012. Web. 20 September. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/cotton-mather-151885/>