New England, Salem, Church Of England discussed on Public Affairs Programming
Took place Tuesday hosted by day Brookings Institution. Cantabria identify the principles Robert Kagan Brookings Institution foreign policy, fellow author of the book the jungle gross back Adam to Columbia University in his books are multiple books. Deluge and crack. I'm trying to crash that cracked and the moderator Thomas right Brookings Institution project international order. WCS from Washington coming up next American history. Tv this week on lectures in American history. We'll talk about the Seylam witch trials and the great awakening. Baylor university. Professor Thomas kid teaches a class on the first great awakening in America. It's the period of the mid eighteenth century a period of Christian revitalization. Swept through the colonies explains. How the Salem witch trials and the declining puritanism that to traveling preachers and an emphasis on defense. We've been talking about the founding of the American colonies, and we're getting now into the into the seventeen hundreds today in this week. I want to focus mostly on religion in the light, colonial period and becoming the great awakening in the seventeenth, thirties and forties. And I know this has been on you all mind says you have a paper coming up about that. So we're going to give some of the background to religion in the colonial period. And then the lead up to the great awakening the overview what happens in the great awakening. And then hopefully that'll that'll set you better for your your papers. You can see here on the on the screen. We have an image of George Whitfield who is the most famous preacher of the great awakening. Preaching in London there in the seventeen thirty seventeen forties. He is the sensation of the age. But we'll talk more about him when we get there. I I wanna I wanna take a look at the background to what's happening in eighteenth century America with regard to religion. And we've talked about some of this already before in class about the scope of of religion and religious commitment across the colonies. If you look at the at the southern colonies from Maryland down to Georgia, mostly what we have is a formal commitment to the church of England, and the church of England, of course, is is the national official church of England of Britain. And most of those colonies adopt. A what we would call a kind of formal establishment of the church of England. But the southern colonies overall are probably the least religious of all the colonial regions, which if you think about that for a second your you'll see why that's a little weird because we think of the south today is the bible belt correctly. But in the colonial period, it's different. In the colonial period. There is a kind of formal establishment at least of the church of England. But once you get out past the corneal cities places like williamsburgh and Charleston and savannah. The weight of churchgoing and commitment to the church of England is is pretty limited. And part of the reason for that is you remember going back to the founding of Jamestown in sixteen o seven. These colonies are mostly being founded for business purposes, and it's a little difficult to set up churches in the back country where settlement is so scattered and so people living in the world south in the early seventeen hundreds. I mean, they might have been questions for sure I'm sure most of them would have considered themselves to be questions if they were literate they probably read the bible, maybe they had family devotions, but many many of them did not go to church because maybe the nearest arches fifty miles away. And if that's the case, if you're going on a wagon, you're not gonna go to charge, right? So the south and people in the north in the northern colonies recognized just looking back. This story and people in New England would talk about their worry for the south and it's relative godless nuts. There just weren't that many people go to church there, and there weren't enough churches pastors, and so the south was really regarded as as the least religious part of the colonies the middle colonies and here we're talking about New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware. Is a real mix of different kinds of Christian denominations. You have. And they're often connected to a particular ethnicity. So you have Scottish Presbyterian Scots Irish Presbyterians Dutch Reformed people these this is the group who founded new Netherlands in the sixteen twenty s the Dutch Reformed Church. German lutherans. There are Quakers. Of course, we've seen that. There's different Baptist groups in the middle colonies. And so the middle colonies, I think is Representative of the kind of diversity that you see in modern America that there's just a lot of different kinds of religious groups a lot of kinds of ethnicities sometimes they don't get along with each other. They're competing for adherents. But it's kinda hard to tell the one single linear story of the south end slavery New England and puritanism the middle colonies, there's just more like like that. And in New England when you get into the early seventeen hundreds and when you when you're talking about the eighteenth century. We mean, the seventeen hundreds New England sees the decline of puritanism and remember they have been founded, Massachusetts, Connecticut, especially these kind of policies are founded as puritan colonies. And puritanism by the early seventeen hundreds is in decline. Or now seventy eight years pass the time of the founding and the the current movement has started to fade away. Some historians debate about just how much puritanism is really declining. Some of this may just be talk because you know, that that pastors especially, but lots of Christians won't talk about oh, you know. Thank our founders were much more committed than we are. I don't know if you've ever heard that in and it starts service or something. But you know, it used to be so much better. But now we falling away. I mean, that's that's very common rhetorical move that you get and churches, and he started to see that in the New England churches to in the late sixteen hundreds the early seventeen hundreds and even breeds type of sermon a characteristic kind of New England sermon that you get in this period that historians call the Jeremiah. Ads the Jeremiads. Now, if you know your bible, well enough, you you hear a name that's from Jeremiah who was a very gloomy kind of profit and profit that said to Israel. You've fallen away from God, you need to straighten up or else judgment is coming and that kind of sermon became very common in New England to starting in the sixteen seventy s sixteen eighty s early seventeen. Hundreds the pastors would say you fallen away from your I love you fallen away from that original mission of the founding puritan generation of the sixteen thirty s and you need to turn around turn back to God. And renew your devotion to the Lord. Now. How reflective this is of actual reality on the Grammy. And had the people really turned away from God. It's sorta hard to know how to measure that. It's hard obviously to judge people's hearts, but there is some evidence that at least New England is becoming more diverse. Not just exclusively puritan. You may remember that we talked about it then in sixteen ninety s England started requiring Massachusetts to tolerate other kinds of Protestants and not just Puritans. But now you have to tolerate Quakers and Baptists and other kinds of Protestant groups. There are some intriguing pieces of evidence about rising at least access to sort of morality and so forth and six in the sixteen eighty s it looks like the Boston probably gets its first brothel. The characteristic of colonial cities of London and so forth at the time. But, you know, puritan Boston gets a brothel, you know, a house of prostitution. Is this horrifying there occasionally are gaining classes being offered in Boston in this era. So, you know. And the parents were not keen on on on dancing, especially between unmarried couples. So there's there are actually some pieces of evidence that you could look at it and say, well, maybe this is becoming sort of more diverse non puritan kind of society and says, you know, maybe there is something there to that jeremiad kind kind of fame. Probably the most horrific episode for the pastors in New England and the late sixteen hundreds for sure is the Salem witchcraft crisis. And we read a document on this for today, if you wanna pull your book out and look at that. The Salem witchcraft crisis is. Is horrific for the leaders in New England first and foremost for them because they see it as a great attack of Satan on their society. The Puritans believed that they had this very high calling from God. And so they thought well, of course, why would you expect that Satan is gonna break out in these attacks against us? And that's how they saw what happened in sixteen ninety two is that Satan had raised up a cohort of witches to and attack their people and try to disrupt New England society. And so that's how they first and foremost interpreted what was going on and Salem in. So dozens of people start being accused of being witches, probably if if you remember some of the story, even from maybe reading something like the crucible by Arthur Miller. There was a group of mostly teenage girls who probably had gotten involved in in at least some kind of white magic type type of practice trying to tell the future and so forth. And then those those girls started to have signs of of what the Puritans would have considered to be sort of demonic attacks demonic oppression and having convulsions and being tormented. And they would say that it was this woman that one who who is coming in especially in in the spirit realm to attack them, spiritually and physically harm them. And so. Now, by the way, it's it's mostly younger women accusing older women of being witches. So almost all the accused are winning. But almost all the accusers are went into and so one interesting historical investigation that some historians have engaged in is what was this? I kind of what you would call misogynistic episode. Where woman hating? Kind of gender episode of loathing of women, especially these kind of older women who were difficult to deal with maybe had gotten into altercations with their neighbors and so forth. And that's an interesting thesis. But but one problem with it is is it's almost always win two who are accusing it would be a little more convenient. If it was man accusing women to read it as a misogynistic episode. But there are some men who get accused of being warlocks, and it ends up being hundreds of people who get accused across the region. It's not just in Salem. But ultimately, some very elite people start getting accused, and I think not coincidentally, that's when the judges and other officials start thinking about closing the thing down because they can see that the accusations have started to get just go completely viral haywire. And they said, well, wait a minute. It's too many people and they start to doubt some some aspects of the trials. Thomas kid Baylor University history, professor on the Salem witch trials and the great awakening. Now. Everyone in Salem in in New England. I think approaching one hundred percent of everybody believes that which is exists. So even the critics of the trials. Are are saying well now we know that which is exists. But there are problems that we have with the way that the trials are being run. Okay. And we'll talk about why in a minute. But that's that's a really important aspect to understand is this is not. The Puritans who in their religious fervor believe in the existence of witches. And then standing outside of that. You have these skeptics, you fools. Don't, you know, everybody realizes or believes at the time that the supernatural is real and that at least an isolated cases that people can make a covenant with the devil in order to have malevolent spiritual power. So to be able to cast spells on people, and maybe to torment them in in the spirit realm at least. Okay. So let's let's take a look at this document. And I'll get you to give me some comments about this. On on page, forty three in your book. You see we have Ted Chaba who they call an Indian woman. Now, it's debatable. Exactly who Ticha was. But she seems to have been maybe an indentured servant or slave in the household of one of the pastors who's involved and when they say Indian. We think that it might might mean native American partly native American, but it's more likely that she's probably from the Caribbean. Okay. So you remember when Columbus he came? He says if this is the Indies so sometimes when they said an Indian that somebody from the Caribbean. And so we don't we don't know a whole lot about Ticha other than these testimonies, but she's being interrogated, and and they start off on page forty four and they say the judge says to her. Ticha what evil spirit have you familiarity with? And she says, none why are you heart these children? I do not hurt them. Who is it then the devil for all? I know and so on and so forth like the now when you lead in like that in this trial. What does that tell you about the way that judicial proceedings went in the sixteen hundreds? Won't bring the mic over..