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The Role of Religion Was the Main Reason Why There Were Changes in the Number of Accusations of Witchcraft in the Early Modern Period (c1500-C1700)

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'The role of religion was the main reason why there were changes in the number of accusations of witchcraft in the early modern period (c1500-c1700).'

How far do you agree? Explain your answer.

You may use the following in your answer:

-religious beliefs

-Matthew Hopkins

You must also use information of your own.

I agree to a minimal extent because although religion did contribute to the number of accusations, there was a far more significant reason which triggered the society and mentally forced them to become more cautious of witches which gradually increased the number of accusations of witchcraft – privileged individuals.

To an extent, religion did play a huge role during the witchcraft period. Everyone used to respect and fear the idea of God by swearing an oath in court knowing that God is watching to see if they lie or not. Therefore, religion did cause a change in the number of accusations of witchcraft. When the main religion of the country became Protestant Christians, people feared Catholicism which obviously caused chaos. They thought they could get rid of the fear and ‘cleanse society’ by seeking witches which increased the number of accusations.

However, it wasn’t just religion that played a major role – witch hunters such as Matthew Hopkins created chaos and awareness about these witches. He used his interrogation method and made the accused witches confess the other witches’ names. Because of him, many innocent women were either prosecuted or executed for no reason at all. Moreover, the more accusations he made, the more panic it created because it alarmed the rest of society which enlarged the number of allegations.

Lastly, the King during the early modern period, James I, contributed to the change of number of accusations because of the book he wrote which was mainly about witches. His book, Demonologie, informed the society how to spot a witch and how to trial them. Because he had the most authority in the country, the citizens believed him and would find witches based on his description. Therefore, more and more accusations were made because people were matching the description in his books which some historians could argue is biased as he had an internal grudge against

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