Online Class: Salem Witch Trials

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Course Description

The trials, and the ultimate executions, of many so-called witches in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 is one of the most widely known events in American history. In the past three centuries, historians have wrestled with those tragic events and have written as much about them as other seminal events in our nation's history, such the Revolutionary War. But, the Salem Witch Trials did not lead to a great transformation in our country, like the Revolutionary War or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Despite this, the Salem Witch Trials have demanded our attention for centuries.

This course begins with a historical overview of the environment in Salem in 1692. An examination of the way life was like in Colonial Salem will provide a backdrop to the tensions and circumstances that led to so much unrest. We will then take a look at the specific series of events that led to the accusations of witchcraft and the beginning of the trials. 

The course will profile the people who accused others of witchcraft, and it will examine those accused of the crime. Careful attention will be paid to the legal proceedings used in the trials, how they were influenced by prominent members of society, and the role played the ministers and judges. This comprehensive course will conclude with a look at how the trials ultimately came to an end and examine the long-lasting effects they had in American history. 

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics

Lesson 1: Salem in the 1600s, Part 1

Lesson 2: Salem in the 1600s, Part 2

Lesson 3: Samuel Parris

Lesson 4: The Suspicion of Witchcraft

Lesson 5: The Accusers

Lesson 6: The Magistrates and Suspects

Lesson 7: Judges, Ministers, and the Law

Lesson 8: Bridget Bishop

Lesson 9: Rebecca Nurse

Lesson 10: The Conclusion of the Trials

Course Materials

All course materials is provided in this class. There is no need to buy additional resources.

Grading Policy

Several lessons will include a written assignment that will directly apply what you have learned.

A brief 25 pt. quiz will follow each lesson. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe Salem in the 1600s.
  • Identify Samuel Parris.
  • Know the suspicion of witchcraft during this period of time.
  • Identify the accusers and their arguments.
  • Know the magistrates and the suspects.
  • Describe the judges, ministers, and the law.
  • Identify Bridget Bishop and Rebecca Nurse and their roles in the Salem Witch Trials, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Lesson 1 Exam10
Lesson 2 Assignment25
Lesson 2 Exam10
Lesson 3 Exam10
Lesson 4 Exam10
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 5 Exam10
Lesson 6 Exam9
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7 Exam10
Comment on Bridget Bishop25
Lesson 8 Exam10
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9 Exam10
Lesson 10 Exam9
The Final Exam45
Total Points:268

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