Not to Hell but to Salem

in The Specter of Salem

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780226005416
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226005423 | DOI:
Not to Hell but to Salem

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This chapter traces how in the 1830s, the metaphor of Salem witchcraft moved out of histories and literature and into public discourse in the United States. The witchcraft trials provided an insight into the political consequences if a nation became overwhelmed by “fanatical” followers of new religious movements such as Spiritualism and Mormonism. They also provided reporters, editors, and even average citizens with a symbol that had the authority of historical precedent.

Keywords: Salem witchcraft; metaphor; United States; literature; public discourse; religious movements; fanatical followers; Spiritualism; Mormonism

Chapter.  12404 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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