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Salem 1692: 19 Executed-Wealthy, Not Witches

By Thomas J. Stanley on Oct 31st, 2012 in Studying the Wealthy

The dislike, even hatred, of the socioeconomic successful by vocal segments of our population is not new in America.  In Salem, Massachusetts (1692-1693) 19 people were executed because they were found guilty of “witchcraft.”  But  Dr. P. S. Boyer, in his highly acclaimed book, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, revealed the real truth.  According to Paul Vitello’s New York Times profile of Professor’s Boyer’s exhaustive research on this topic:


. . . (Boyer) suggested that social envy motivated many of the accusers in the 17th-century witch trials.  . . .  made innovative use of historic land records and tax receipts to show that in many cases the accused (of witchcraft) were members of Salem’s social establishment. . . while their accusers were lower ranking citizens who had tangled with the victims over financial matters.


Dislike for the rich can come from people wearing a variety of costumes: from politicians to news writers.  These vocal segments of our population are abundant.  They have accused the rich of everything from witchcraft to causing hunger and poverty.   Be careful when analyzing the anti-rich rhetoric.  Look behind the facade for the real motive.


Is it any wonder why most rich people, especially the millionaire next door types, do not want to display their considerable success?  It is not surprising that the person who recently donated $100 million to Baylor University designated himself as “anonymous.” 

3 responses to “Salem 1692: 19 Executed-Wealthy, Not Witches”

  1. wizardpc says:

    Occupy Salem

  2. Howard says:

    Envy and greed are great evil motivation among humans. It made Gods ten commandments. #9. Do not bear false witness. Ben Franklin said it best … the pen is mightier than the Sward. Millions of people have been killed by the words of a very few.. Stalin, Hitler, Pau Pot, Need I say more. We are about to see history repeating again except this time the population is armed and thus they need to come for our guns… The blood will flow deeper in our streets the waters in New Orleans.

  3. Gilbert Christman says:

    Ridiculous twist. Actually they came to a screeching halt when the Governor of the colony’s wife was accused.
    Until then it was mostly to steal the land and possessions of old widows and other easy targets of the young accusers. When the wealthy and powerful were accused it was ordered STOPPED.

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