I will admit that Our Pilgrim Fathers were a little ways off from drafting the Constitution (though, as for that, any Texan can tell you that the Constitution is just the Mayflower Compact on nicer paper). I will admit that Our Pilgrim Fathers, who came here to create the Kingdom of God on Earth (I mean after our other English Fathers, that Jamestown gang, came here to figure out how turn a profit from the place . . . but forget about those guys, they just cloud the picture; and leave the Spanish and French out of it, too, for now) could be a little judgmental. But recall that they were Chosen, and that it is hard, being Chosen. It's a lot of responsibility!
They were Chosen, living in the woods, and all of them, all of the Pilgrim Fathers, I mean, they were all Good (I suppose it's also worth mentioning that not all of them were Pilgrims; some others came, they claimed, to seek their fortunes; but then everyone knows Thomas Morton burns in Hell still, and shall for All Eternity). But the Pilgrim Fathers, they knew what they were about.
Having said all that I come to my point. Not everyone likes to hear this, but it's true: there were witches. Cotton Mather, nothing if not an objective historian (and, sure, he wasn't there), has explained it very clearly: it was the Devil. Please forgive me for quoting at length, but these are the facts.
THE New-Englanders are a people of God settled in those, which were once the Devil's territories; and it may easily be supposed that the Devil was exceedingly disturbed, when he perceived such a People here accomplishing the Promise of old made unto our Blessed Jesus, That he should have the Utmost parts of the Earth for His Possession. There was not a greater Uproar among the Ephesians, when the Gospel was first brought among them, than there was among, The Powers of the Air (after whom those Ephesians walked) when first the Silver Trumpets of the Gospel here made the Joyful Sound. The Devil thus Irritated, immediately try'd all sorts of Methods to overturn this poor Plantation: and so much of the Church, as was Fled into this Wilderness, immediately found, The Serpent cast out of his Mouth a Flood for the carrying of it away. I believe, that never were more Satanical Devices used for the Unsetling of any People under the Sun, than what have been Employ'd for the Extirpation of the Vine which God has here Planted, Casting out the Heathen, and preparing a Room for it, and causing it to take deep Root and fill the Land, so that it sent its Boughs unto the Atlantic Sea Eastward, and its Branches unto the Connecticut River Westward, and the Hills were covered with the shadow thereof. But All those Attempts of Hell, have hitherto been Abortive, many an Ebenezer has been Erected unto the Praise of God, by his Poor People here; and, Having obtained Help from God, we continue to this Day. Wherefore the Devil is now making one Attempt more upon us; an Attempt more Difficult, more Surprizing, more snarl'd with unintelligible Circumstances than any that we have hitherto Encountered; an Attempt so Critical, that if we get well through, we shall soon enjoy Halcyon Days with all the Vultures of hell Trodden under our Feet. He has wanted his Incarnate Legions to Persecute us, as the People of God have in the other Hemisphere been Persecuted: he has therefore drawn forth his more Spiritual ones to make an Attacque upon us. We have been advised by some Credible Christians yet alive, that a Malefactor, accused of Witchcraft as well as Murder, and Executed in this place more than Forty Years ago, did then give Notice of, An Horrible PLOT against the Country by WITCHCRAFT, and a Foundation of WITCHCRAFT then laid, which if it were not seasonably discovered would probably Blow up, and pull down all the Churches in the Country. And we have now with Horror seen the Discovery of such a Witchcraft!Read it however you like, colleagues. The worst you can say is that Mather meant this figuratively, but then that would be a strange combination of the spectrally figurative and the Biblically literal, no?
No, the truth is: there were witches. Among them Martha Carrier. A famous and foul example, but just one. Among the Fathers she made to suffer was Allin Toothaker, who testified that, before her arrest, she had caused him to have a wound he could stick a knitting needle into -- four inches deep. After her arrest it disappeared. What's not clear about that? All that's left is to confirm the hypothesis. So: Samuel Preson lost a cow "in a strange Preternatural unusual manner" after a dispute with Carrier. Oh, and Benjamin Abbot. She gave him a boil; when it was lanced by Dr. Prescot, "several Gallons of Corruption ran out of it." Duh.
Finally, Mather himself, who compiled Wonders of the Invisible World, after all, with "Such a Spirit of Love," himself notes in passing -- quite apart from his reportage of the proceedings -- that Carrier was "a rampant hag."
Were innocent women tried and tortured and burned? Yes. We can't deny that. Were they deprived of something like what we would now call "rights" and "liberties"? Sure. Were their trials terribly unjust? Sort of.
But there were witches, and we caught them.
And that's just one of the reasons why the Pilgrims achieved all of their Goals.