The reading by Johnson starts out with a married lady by the name of Katherine Watkins complaining of rape by a black slave. Throughout the remainder of this section, depositions are given by other black slaves and people who claim to have witnessed the occurrence. Most of the accounts indicate that Mrs. Watkins seduced the slave into a sexual act and then blamed it on him in order to stay out of the trouble that her Quaker husbands beliefs would have brought on her. The other section in this book is the sermon by John Winthrop entitled, A Model of Christianity.
Two rules by which all men should abide, he says, are to show mercy and do justice. Among many other good deeds, he preaches love among Christians, performing service for the Lord, having unity and conformity in the community, and strict obedience to Gods word lest some punishment befall you. The handout given in class deals with the issue of homosexuality and the punishments for sodomy and buggery. The reading by Marcus was solely concentrated on the Salem Witch Trials.
A former minister, George Burroughs, is accused of witchcraft and much of the section deals with people who claimed to have been bewitched by him. There are a couple of letters by Cotton Mather explaining the difficulty of the witchcraft trials and his defense of the conviction of George Burroughs. The rest of this reading is letters of confession by the accused and more letters relating to the trials. The role of Colonial women in society is given an in depth look in the segment by Graebner.
In these days, the husband was seen as the supreme head of the family and women were basically domestic. Women were basically known only as the wife of their husbands and often helped them with their business affairs. Eventually, a minimal level of trade arose among women in the village, but nothing big enough to trigger a large outbreak of feminism at that time. A womens role in society can basically be summed up in this quote, The economic roles of married women were based upon two potentially conflicting values gender specialization and identity of interest.
A wife was expected to become expert in the management of a household and the care of children, but she was also asked to assist in the economic affairs of her husband, becoming his representative and even his surrogate if circumstances demanded it. Three concepts that were all tied together in Colonial America were sin, legality, and community. Their definitions of sin were taken before a jury for the proper punishment, and thus their sense of community was being broken down by the fact that so many people were being sentenced and punished for the sins that the legal system found them guilty of.