Witch-hunts and Popular Culture

This is a 2-part assignment. Part A: essay template, Part B: Short essay

Part A requires you to write an essay outline for the short essay you will write in Part B. If your essay deviates from your essay outline you will not be


The purpose of this assignment is to help you focus your arguments, select suitable evidence, and structure your essay in a way that flows logically from

introduction and thesis statement to conclusion. Though it is tempting to imagine that the articles, chapters and monographs we read from top scholars were written off

the cuff, the truth is even the most experienced historians begin with a detailed plan; it’s good practice.

The outline requires you to formulate an argument about your topic, think about how to organize your discussion, and provide examples of sources you plan to use.

In addition to the outline, you will also choose one of the sources you will use in your essay and using this document give an example of:  a sentence which

includes a short direct quote from the source; a sentence or phrase which is followed by a long direct quote from the source (3-4 lines); a sentence which expresses in

your own words an idea or interpretation from your source; and a fact (either in the source or about the source) which does not need to be referenced. You are required

to provide footnotes for the first three of these examples, appropriately formatted in accordance with the conventions used by historians.

Part B: 12 pt. times new roman font. Given that a single page is approx 550 words/page. So 3 pages should be approx 2000 words.

In this unit you have been exposed to different arguments regarding the importance of different areas of local, religious and governmental authority in the witch-

trials. As we have seen, Levack emphasizes the role of local officials in witch-hunting, while Goodare focuses instead on the role of the state and national

government, and MacDonald stresses the influence of ministers and other religious elites. In this essay, you will be asked to choose one of these approaches and apply

it to the witch-hunts of the 1640s.

Using the material covered in Unit 01, John Young’s article, and chapter 4 in your textbook, you will be asked to provide a clear description of the background of

the events that took place between 1638 and 1651. Then, using one of the approaches discussed above, you will discuss how the events of the 1640s related to the rise

in witchcraft prosecution, specifically emphasizing the role of either local, state, or religious authority in the trials. Using information from the sources above, as

well as from the primary source, “The National Covenant” (see Unit 01), you will need to defend your argument about why one of these particular groups played the most

important role in encouraging or discouraging witch-hunting during this period. Be sure to include not only the information that supports your interpretation of the

events, but also to acknowledge or explain the arguments for the importance of the groups you do not choose.

The National Covenant will be used as a primary source in this assignment. Your essay should incorporate a description of the National Covenant and its role in the

events of the 1640s. Using primary material from this source, you will need to demonstrate the relative importance (or unimportance) of different levels of authority

in Revolutionary Scotland.

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