HIST 4800 Boston (Herndon)


This research analyzes the trial and execution of six men accused of piracy, robbery, and murder in 1704, as it relates to the objectives of Puritan leaders. The entire trial and execution process was held in public for anyone to bare witness. Puritan magistrates oversaw the process while recording both in some detail to be later published to the public. I breakdown and critically analyze the story each of the three publications tells to further assess the motives of the Puritans of this era.

Through the analysis of the 1700s publications and previous research conduct by historians Masur, Cohen, Bosco, Cooper, Linders, and Williams, this work agrees with previous arguments in that Puritan leaders were largely concerned with upholding Puritan values. They utilized public executions to demonstrate their power in the government, as well as support their beliefs. Through critical analysis of the previous mentioned historians, this research goes on to challenge that Puritan beliefs were not the sole element in the prolongation of public executions. Puritan leaders also used public executions, in addition to maintaining values, to gain social acceptance, money, and publicity for themselves through the use of public executions.

Publication Date

Fall 12-2013