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  • 1. The Crucible and the Salem Witch Trials 10th Grade Language Arts

2. Now that weve read,The Crucible , use your journal to ask yourself:

  • Is there any issue, concern, or debate that you felt so strongly about that you asked yourself, how can I do something to help or change it?
  • Has anyone ever accused you (or someone you know) of wrongdoing, even though you knew you were innocent?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • How did you correct their error, or did you even try?
  • The accusation does not have to be a serious offence, it can be as small as someone asking, Did you tell Sally that you thought my dress was ugly?

3. In this lesson: We are going to examine thePowerwords can have. We are going to choose a side, explaining why we areFororAgainst the Salem Witch Trials, and write a letter to Sir William Phips, governor of Massachusetts in 1692. Governor Phips Governor Phips 4. Lets Talk about Thomas Brattle

  • One of the most notable criticizers of the Salem Witch Trials
  • In 1692, Brattle wrote his now famous letter (dated October 8th) to an English clergyman
  • The letter showed his great disapproval of the trials
  • In it, he questioned the legality of using spectral evidence to find a person guilty.
  • He criticized the courts for the ways in which the accusations, arrests, trials, and executions were carried out.
  • The letter became widely circulated and read by many persons, including Governor Sir William Phips.


  • Words can have Power and Influence:
    • Brattle ends his letter with a statement that shows his understanding of how these trials will shape the image of American History:

I am afraid that ages will not wear off that reproach and those stains which these things will leave behind them upon our land. 6.

  • The letter, along with other publications of the time, had a great influence on the governor.
    • Who are Increase and Cotton Mather?
  • Shortly after Brattles letter was written, Governor Phips ordered that the courts could no longer allow the use of spectral and intangible evidence.
  • Later in the month, the governor dissolved the court entirely.
  • Over 6 months later, the newly created Superior Court of Massachusetts took over the remaining witchcraft cases where no persons tried were found guilty.

7. Now, its your turn

  • For this assignment, you will:
      • Learn vocabulary terms
      • Read a summarized version of Thomas Brattles famous letter and two more (modern) versions of persuasive writing
      • Compose your own letter to Governor Phips, using persuasive writing to either praise him and the Salem Witch Trials or criticize them and urge him to stop the trials
  • We will break into groups to complete the vocabulary guide and then use the links I provide to gather information needed to compose your letter
      • Thomas Brattle:
      • Increase Mather:
      • Salem Witch Trials Memorial:
      • A possible explanation for the girls behavior.Food poisoning?:
      • Ergot?:

8. Lesson Objective

  • Students will be able to write a letter using a persuasive argument that demonstrates their understanding of the effects word choices can have on a reader.


  • California Content Standards
  • 10th Grade Language Arts
  • Main Focus:
  • Writing Applications 2.4:
    • Write persuasive compositions:
      • a. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion.
      • b. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).
      • c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning.
      • d. Address readers concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.
  • Other Standards that will be met
  • Reading 1.2
  • Reading Comprehension:2.2, 2.3
  • Writing Strategies:1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6

10. References:

  • All images retrieved from, =
  • Lesson Plan:The Crucible by Arthur Miller (author unknown).Retrieved from,
  • Letter of Thomas Brattle, F. R. S., 1692 retrieved from,
  • Salem Witch Trials:Documentary Archive and Transcription Project.(2002).Retrieved from,
  • Salem Witch Trials:The Stones, A Memorial, Chronology.Retrieved from,
  • Thomas Brattle. (n. d.) InWikipedia online.Retrieved from,