Chapters 2 and 3 both cover colonial America in the seventeenth century, a period remote in time from our own day, and many potential sources from that era have not survived. Two questions that have puzzled modern-day historians studying that time are the persistent economic and population problems in early Virginia and the dynamics of the Salem witchcraft accusations and convictions.
To what extent does the survivability of sources (or lack thereof) affect the ability of historians to reconstruct and interpret the history of this period?
What limitations or problems with these sources originally made it challenging for historians to reconstruct and satisfactorily interpret the history of this period?
What sorts of additional questions and scholarly approaches from outside of the field of history eventually provided further understanding of early Virginia population losses/economic problems and Salem witchcraft accusations?
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