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Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather A Reply   By: (1802-1875)

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In Charles Wentworth Upham's Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather A Reply, readers are provided with a concise, informative, and engaging analysis of one of the most notorious periods in American history. Upham, a renowned historian and politician, presents a comprehensive rebuttal to Cotton Mather's defense of the Salem Witch Trials, shedding light on the religious and political underpinnings that defined this dark chapter.

By skillfully dissecting Mather's extensive writings and sermons on the subject, Upham exposes the flaws and contradictions within the Puritan minister's arguments. Through meticulous research and meticulous analysis, the author navigates the intricacies of Mather's belief system, effectively dismantling his claims and shedding light on the societal factors that fueled the witch hysteria. Upham's clarity and precision in presenting counter-arguments showcases his deep understanding of both the historical context and the psychological motivations of those involved.

One of the book's most compelling aspects is Upham's exploration of the political climate surrounding the trials. By highlighting key events and power struggles, he demonstrates how the religious fervor that led to the persecution of alleged witches was intertwined with the struggle for influence within the community. Upham's thorough examination of primary sources allows readers to grasp the complex dynamics between the various factions involved, shedding new light on the motivations behind the trials.

Furthermore, Upham goes beyond comprehending the narrow lens of Mather's writings, providing a broader perspective on the societal implications of the Salem Witch Trials. He skillfully examines the impact on the local community, shedding light on the profound consequences endured by those accused, convicted, and executed. Upham's empathetic approach humanizes the victims, unveiling the horrors they endured and dismantling the notion that the trials were solely driven by religious fanaticism.

While Upham is critical of Mather's viewpoint, he maintains a fair and balanced approach throughout the book. He acknowledges the complexities of Mather's beliefs and acknowledges the intellectual prowess that propelled him to become a respected theologian of his time. Upham presents his arguments with respect, allowing readers to critically evaluate both sides of the debate and develop their own understanding.

In conclusion, Charles Wentworth Upham's Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather A Reply is a well-researched and thought-provoking analysis of the Salem Witch Trials. Upham's skill in deconstructing Mather's arguments, his nuanced exploration of the political and social factors at play, and his empathetic portrayal of the victims make this book an essential addition to any discussion of this infamous period in American history. The author's ability to present complex ideas in a comprehensible manner while maintaining academic rigor ensures that this book appeals to both scholars and general readers interested in unraveling the mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials.

First Page:



BY CHARLES W. UPHAM, Member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

MORRISANIA, N. Y.: 1869.


SALEM, MASS., December 10, 1869.

Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Superscript text is preceded by the ^ character. Variant spellings, including the inconsistent spelling of proper nouns, remain as printed. Spelling errors in quotations have been retained, despite the generally poor quality of the original typesetting.


The Editors of the North American Review would, under the circumstances, I have no reason to doubt, have opened its columns to a reply to the article that has led to the preparation of the following statement. But its length has forbidden my asking such a favor.

All interested in the department of American literature to which the HISTORICAL MAGAZINE belongs, must appreciate the ability with which it is conducted, and the laborious and indefatigable zeal of its Editor, in collecting and placing on its pages, beyond the reach of oblivion and loss, the scattered and perishing materials necessary to the elucidation of historical and biographical topics, whether relating to particular localities or the country at large; and it was as gratifying as unexpected to receive the proffer, without limitation, of the use of that publication for this occasion... Continue reading book >>

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