The witchcraze of the seventeenth century gave way to much political
unrest and an incredible redistribution of property. The witchcraze was
created and fostered by the political leaders and the church leaders of the
day all in the pursuit of property and position. The witchcraze continued
full steam ahead until laws were passed that put a limit on the personal gains
allowable from a single incident.

There were a select group of people that got rich from the misfortune of
others. It was an uncontained, uncontrolled, and unchallenged exhibition of
political power that was used to dominate the poor and allow for a designed
redistribution of land (some accusations were made simply because their was or
had been a disagreement over borders, inheritance, or because of past family
to family conflicts). This period of history allowed a few selected rich
merchants to get richer and the poor to live their entire lives in fear.
“... Meanwhile notaries, copyists, and innkeepers grew rich...”. This period
allowed for the design of an organized inquisition, organized system of
torture, and a traveling system of judges that always passed the same
judgment: guilty let them burn.

The promise of property and position led to the false accusations of
many people who through torture signed away their souls and who not only
admitted, but believed (because through the torture they were threatened with
being excommunicated and as a result of not having the promise of salvation in
the afterlife) that the accusations were true. This is obvious through the
reading of some of the church documents of the trials where the accused
individuals actually thanked the inquisitors for trying to save them and their
souls. They were willing to admit anything for the promise of salvation.
Religion played a very large role in the lives of all people during this time
(regardless of denomination: nobody was safe from the accusation of

This period, taken from a feminist view, was a major building block in
the foundation of the modern women’s movement. During this time women were
beginning to demand more, they were becoming more learned, and they were on
the verge of a new era. Once you expand the mind it can never be retracted.
These modern beliefs were shaking the foundations of “acceptable thought” and
the old fashioned ideas and ideals didn’t know how to support this modern
movement. Tradition didn’t know how to cope with these modern women (and I
speak of women because 80-90% of people accused during the witchcraze were
women) and it seemed logical to the social higher ups to rid themselves of the
problem while it was small and before it could become and intellectual
epidemic. These women set the stage for the drive for gender equality long
before that taboo thought was allowed to permeate their reality. These women
were martyrs, and it does my mind well to know that they did not die in vain.

Category: Miscellaneous