The Sacco-Vanzetti Case

Introduction

The case of Sacco and Vanzetti has been a historic mystery bearing in mind that truth is yet to be revealed. Most American citizens still believe that the two were mistakenly convicted and executed in spite of being innocent.[1] Moreover, their cases still raise concern over experience faced by European immigrants in America.

The latter went through discrimination and unfair trials. During the early phase of 19th century, anarchists, socialists and communists became the focus of criminal investigations. Besides, incumbents were also victims of the entire conservative rule since they went through a harrowing experience in the hands of a conservative government in America.

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To begin with, a paymaster and two accompanying guards were gunned down on the 15th of April, 1920. This horrifying experience took place in Massachusetts State. The serving officers were carrying pay roll from their company’s office headed to a shoe factory along the streets of South Braintree. Unfortunately, they were sprayed with live bullets from unknown gun men leading to their instant death.

Thereafter, a vehicle with some passengers drove at the scene immediately. The gunmen then parked the cartons into the standing vehicle and hurriedly sped off having snatched approximately $1500 snatched from the dead victims.[2] The vehicle was found dumped some distance away from the crime scene.

As investigation into the killings progressed, eye witnesses were very instrumental in providing reliable information to police officers probing the matter. During initial stages of inquiry into the killings, unconfirmed reports went around that the murderers may have been Italian anarchists.

At some point during investigations into the shootings, investigators attempted to link the scene with previous incident which had earlier occurred in Bridgewater in a similar manner. In line with this, a trap was set to catch up with suspects. After three weeks, two men fell in the hands of police.

They were identified as Nicola Sacco and Bartolommeo Vanzetti. They were caught with guns. However, on investigation, they lied to policemen. It was claimed that they had a colt revolver with a third bullet that was previously identified with one of the suspects from another murder scene. The two men were condemned of crime related activities especially those that had been previously perpetrated in similar scenario.

Certainly, the two men had to face full force of the law having been held up as suspects in several attempted crimes like the one in Bridgewater on 24th December, 1919.[3] The two suspects were found guilty after trial since they failed to convince the jury that they were not involved in criminal activities.

The contradicting stories presented to investigators were based on the fact that they feared revealing their missions unless they risked being deported. Moreover, they never wanted to reveal that they were associated with anarchists as well as socialist movements.

Despite the fact that the two men faced prosecution and found guilty, their supporters who were also anarchists of Italian descent led to more suspicions against them.[4] Besides, fellow anarchists argued that the two suspects were wrongly implicated in the trial process and that the latter was politically instigated.[5] According to their supporters, there was need to establish new defense ideology for the trial. However, the event marked the onset of serious political trial in America.

Meanwhile, this case coincided with a period when American political nature was experiencing repressions. By then, Anarchists were against American conservative government and hence, they advocated for political revolutions through violence. Additionally, anarchists were known to conduct extensive labor strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and anti war rallies in an attempt to confront American laws.

This made the two anarchists to be disadvantaged when government attempted to silence their movements. Moreover, there was an anti-communist wave and hence government authorities such as Judge Webster Thayer held much prejudice against the anarchists. He sentenced them for execution on 14th July 1921.[6]

However, controversy rose later due to trial of the two suspects since they did not have any criminal record before. Due to their anarchists’ influence, the government responded by taking illegal acts against them. There was outrage among working class and supporters of the incumbents around the world who felt that the trial was unjustly done.

This called for reappointment of a committee to investigate whether they were wrongly convicted. In spite of myriad opposition against their trial, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed on 23rd August, 1927.

The death of the two men was a watershed in American history. There was intense public pressure among major cities in Europe such as Paris, London and Mexico to react against the trial.[7] This also exposed out how flawed the American judicial system was toward their counterparts.

From that time, American citizens felt that their democratic system of governance was ironically ruthless and unjust and only serving interests of the rich and powerful in society.[8] Moreover, the event raised an eye brow among scholars and critics who acted with speed to formulate an effective system of governance that would actively oversee any form of human rights violation.

Bibliography

Felix, Frankfurter. “The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti”. Atlantic Magazine, March 1927, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1927/03/the-case-of-sacco-and- vanzetti/6625 (accessed July 4, 2011).

Herbert, Ehrmann. “The Case That Will Not Die”. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. http://www.mmisi.org/ma/33_04/hindus.pdf (accessed July 4, 2011).

Scott, Patrick Johnson. “Trials of the Century: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the Law”. California: ABC-CLIC, LLC. 2010. http://www.abc- clio.com/product.aspx?id=52474 (accessed July 4, 2011).

Ehrmann, Herbert. “The Case That Will Not Die”. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. http://www.mmisi.org/ma/33_04/hindus.pdf (accessed July 4, 2011).
Ibid., p.79.
Ehrmann, Herbert. “The Case That Will Not Die”. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. http://www.mmisi.org/ma/33_04/hindus.pdf (accessed July 4, 2011).
Scott, Patrick Johnson. “Trials of the Century: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the Law”. California: ABC-CLIC, LLC. 2010. http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?id=52474 (accessed July 4, 2011).
Ibid., pp.609-610
Frankfurter, Felix. “The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti”. Atlantic Magazine, March 1927, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1927/03/the-case-of-sacco-and-vanzetti/6625 (accessed July 4, 2011).
Ibid., part II, par.7.
Ehrmann, Herbert. “The Case That Will Not Die”. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. http://www.mmisi.org/ma/33_04/hindus.pdf (accessed July 4, 2011).

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