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Nativism 1920's Carter Stanley

Sacco and Vanzetti
The Red Scare
Ku Klux Klan
Sacco and Vanzetti

"But what good is the evidence and what good is the argument?"
-Nicolas Sacco

In 1919 2 Italian men, Nicolas Sacco and Barthalomeo Vanzetti, were arrested as suspects for the killing of a shoe factory paymaster and his guard. Both were radical anarchist but very good natured and seemed to be law abiding citizens. The crime seemed simple and straightforward, but the trial gained attention when the two were convicted of very shaky evidence. There was no physical evidence agaist him and 16 fellow Italians testified to his whereabouts. Witnesses described the killer only as a foreiger that had a trimmed mustache, and one person identified the killers as Italian because they "ran funny". In later trial the bullets found in the body were compared to the gun owned by Vanzetti and a ballistics expert was not able to give a definate origin of the bullet. Still both were convicted.

The presiding judge was Webster Thayer, a well respected judge who was infamous for putting away radicals, communist, and socialist for various infractions under the unfair Espionage Act and legislation created by Palmer. In a sense Sacco and Vanzetti were doomed to begin with. After several trials the two were finally sentenced to death in 1927 and the verdict rallied public outcry all over the nation. Although ballistics tests done in the 1970's confirmed that the bullets had a 99% match to that of Sacco's gun it is belived that Vanzetti was still innocent. Guilty or not guilty, the fact that a trial so public was so biased to one point of view shocked many people around the world, and thier sacrifice became the basis for further legislation and practices that protected the rights of people in trial in later years.

Sacco and Vanzetti


Judge Webster Thayer