When I lectured on Salem, however, I didn’t try to explain what caused it. I didn’t delve into it much, in part because we'll discuss it on Monday after reading some of the court testimony from Tituba. During lecture, I pointed out that during the trials, about 150 people were imprisoned and about 20 were executed or died in prison. I use Salem to show not that the colonies were backward, but that they were growing and succeeding. I asked my class, could the Jamestownians of 1607 have imprisoned 150 of their lot? Could they have done it in 1608? How about 1609? Could the Pilgrims have done it in 1620 and survived? How about the Puritans at Massachusetts Bay? After the requisite silence (it appears that all large classes must have 5 to 15 seconds of silence after any question is asked), one student said, “well, no, cause how would they grow their crops?” Another quickly shot in, “umm, they barely had 150 people and everybody was too busy dying.” A third kicked in, “if you have to fight against Indians, you don’t want your people in jail.” Exactly! The witch hunt at Salem could happen because the colonists were successful. They had risen in number (to about 250,000 total in 1700 with more than 50,000 in Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth combined) such that they had time for mass witch hunts, mass imprisonments, and even executions.