In the late nineteenth century, alongside the reading of American witchcra that emphasized the hard political choices to be made by the nation’s governors — one aspect of which was the negotiation between oligarchy and multiethnic democracy discussed in Chapter 1 — another construction was also gaining favor among scholars and general readers. It was a psychological one, and it began a trend of understanding witch-

cra prosecution in terms of wider social-scientic and biological, rather than narrowly political, factors.