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The Specter of SalemRemembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Gretchen A. Adams

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226005416

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226005423.001.0001

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Not to Hell but to Salem

Not to Hell but to Salem

Antebellum Religious Crises

(p.64) Chapter Three Not to Hell but to Salem
The Specter of Salem
University of Chicago Press

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

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