Born in Torremaggiore, Italy in 1891 At 16 Sacco emigrated to the US in 1908 to Milford, Massachusetts.
Sacco began attending weekly meetings of anarchist group, in 1913 He began to subscribe to an anarchist newspaper published by Luigi Galleani. Sacco became a devotee of Galleani and spent the next several years writing for the paper, donating and soliciting funds for anarchist activities In 1917, Sacco met Vanzetti shortly before the two, along with several other anarchists, moved to Mexico to avoid conscription for World War I
Vanzetti was born in Villafelletto, Italy in 1888 Vanzetti’s mother contracted cancer and died in Vanzetti’s arms. To deal with the pain, Vanzetti set out for the United States in 1908.
After reading books on political philosophy, he moved toward anarchism. He soon began receiving the same anarchist newspaper that Sacco read and wrote for.
An Italian anarchist who advocated revolutionary violence, including bombing and assassination
published a periodical that advocated violent revolution, and an explicit bomb-making manual At the time, Italian anarchists – in particular the Galleanist group – ranked at the top of the United States government's list of dangerous enemies
The "Red Scare" was "a nation-wide anti-radical hysteria. The first Red Scare began following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the intensely patriotic years of World War I. On June 2, 1919, in eight cities, eight bombs simultaneously exploded. One target was the Washington, D.C., house of U.S. Attorney General Palmer, where the explosion killed the bomber, whom evidence indicated was an Italian- American radical from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Media promoted two ideals: Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers Hysteria, describes unmanageable emotional excesses. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to an overwhelming fear
Slater-Morrill Shoe Company, April 15, 1920 Frederick Parmenter, a paymaster, and Alessandro Berardelli, a security guard Robbers had approached the two men as they were transporting the company payroll in two large steel boxes to the main factory Berardelli, was cut down as he reached for his gun on his hip; Parmenter, who was unarmed, was shot twice: once in the chest and a second time - fatally - in the back as he attempted to flee The robbers seized the payroll boxes and escaped by climbing into a waiting getaway car, a dark blue Buick, which raced off with the robbers firing wildly at company workers nearby.
Police suspicions regarding the Braintree robbery-murder centered on local Italian anarchists. While neither Sacco nor Vanzetti had a criminal record, the authorities knew them as radical militants and adherents of Luigi Galleani. Police speculated the robbers were motivated by the need to finance more bombings. On May 5, 1920, Sacco and Vanzetti were both arrested. In addition to the two murders, Vanzetti was further charged with the theft of $15,776.73 from the company
Born in 1857, Webster Thayer He was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Massachusetts in 1917
In 1920 he rebuked a jury for acquitting an anarchist of violating a criminal anarchy statute Boston Globe reporter said of Judge Thayer’s behavior at the trial that “[H]e was conducting himself in an undignified way, in a way I had never seen in thirty-six years.”
The main evidence against the men was that they were both carrying a gun when arrested. Some people who saw the crime taking place identified Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco as the robbers. Both men had alibis. Vanzetti was selling fish in Plymouth while Sacco was in Boston with his wife having his photograph taken. The prosecution made a great deal of the fact that all those called to provide evidence to support these alibis were also Italian immigrants. The trial lasted seven weeks and on 14th July, 1921, both men were found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death They requested a retrial but this was denied by Judge Thayer
On Sunday August 21, more than 20,000 protesters assembled on Boston Common. Sacco walked quietly to the electric chair, then shouted "Farewell, mother." Vanzetti, in his final moments, shook hands with guards and thanked them for their kind treatment, read a statement proclaiming his innocence, and finally said, "I wish to forgive some people for what they are now doing to me." Violent demonstrations swept through many cities, including Geneva, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. In South America wildcat strikes closed factories. Three died in Germany, and protesters in Johannesburg burned an American flag outside the American embassy.
Many historians, have concluded the Sacco and Vanzetti prosecution, trial, and aftermath constituted a blatant disregard for political civil liberties. Some critics felt that the authorities and jurors were influenced by strong anti-Italian prejudice and prejudice against immigrants widely held at the time. Others believe the government was really prosecuting Sacco and Vanzetti for the robbery-murders as a convenient excuse to put a stop to their militant activities as Galleanists, whose bombing campaign at the time posed a lethal threat, both to the government and to many Americans.
Due to national security was it justifiable to execute Sacco and Vanzetti?