The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti - The Atlantic

8. What role did the First Amendment play in the Sacco and Vanzetti case?

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
In 1920, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested for the killing of a guard during the robbery of a shoe factory in Braintree, Massachusetts. With their conviction, based on what some considered flimsy evidence, the two Italian anarchists became symbols and causes célèbre for liberals across the globe. Nevertheless, after several appeals, Sacco and Vanzetti were condemned to death and executed in the electric chair.
The following are excerpts from Vanzetti’s court statement:

“Now, I should say that I am not only innocent of all these things, not only have I never committed a real crime in my life–though some sins but not crimes–not only have I struggled all my life to eliminate crimes, the crimes that the official law and the moral law condemns, but also the crime that the moral law and the official law sanction and sanctify,–the exploitation and the oppression of the man by the man, and if there is a reason why I am here as a guilty man, if there is a reason why you in a few minutes can doom me, it is this reason and none else.
We were tried during a time whose character has now passed into history. I mean by that, a time when there was a hysteria of resentment and hate against the people of our principles, against the foreigner, against slackers, …
Well, I have already say that I not only am not guilty of these two crimes, but I never committed a crime in my life,–I have never stolen and I have never killed and I have never spilt blood, and I have fought against crime, and I have fought and I have sacrificed myself even to eliminate the crimes that the law and the church legitimate and sanctify.
This is what I say: I would not wish to a dog or to a snake, to the most low and misfortunate creature of the earth–I would not wish to any of them what I have had to suffer for things that I am not guilty of. I am suffering because I am a radical and indeed I am a radical; I have suffered because I was an Italian, and indeed I am an Italian; I have suffered more for my family and for my beloved than for myself; but I am so convinced to be right that you can only kill me once but if you could execute me two times, and if I could be reborn two other times, I would live again to do what I have done already.
I have finished. Thank you.”
1. What crimes are sanctioned by the church and the law according to Vanzetti? How has he become a victim of this crime?
2. To what “crimes” does Vanzetti admit his guilt? What is his attitude toward the treatment he has received by American justice? To what extent, does it seem, has anti-immigration sentiment caused the conviction of Sacco and Vanzetti?
3. Is it possible, given the political and emotional climate of these present times in America that a similar event could occur as what happened in 1920? Support your answer with facts.

This is the compelling story of two Italian immigrants – admitted anarchists – on trial for robbery. The Sacco-Vanzetti case personified the fear Americans had in immigrants, anarchists, communism, and other political radicals. As these two men were both immigrants and admitted to being anarchists and dodging the drafts, however, their guilt of the crimes is still debated today.

The role of Sacco and Vanzetti Case in the history of the United States of America.

For more than six years the Sacco-Vanzetti case has been before the courts ofMassachusetts. In a state where ordinary murder trials are promptly dispatchedsuch extraordinary delay in itself challenges attention. The fact is that along succession of disclosures has aroused interest far beyond the boundariesof Massachusetts and even of the United States, until the case has become oneof those rare which are of international concern. The aim ofthis paper is to give in the briefest compass an accurate résumé of the factsof the case from its earliest stages to its present posture.

Sacco and Vanzetti – Usa Online Essays

The Sacco and Vanzetti case was unjust, unfair, and extremely one sided. Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted because of their radical beliefs and ethnic background.

Free Essays on Sacco And Vanzetti through - Essay Depot

8. What role did the First Amendment play in the Sacco and Vanzetti case?

Investigations in the aftermath of the executions continued throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The publication of the men's letters, containing eloquent professions of innocence, intensified belief in their wrongful execution. Additional ballistics tests and incriminating statements by the men's acquaintances have clouded the case. On August 23, 1977—the 50th anniversary of the executions—Massachusetts Governor issued a proclamation that Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names". Writer Bruce Watson, in his introduction to the 2007 re-printing of , noted "Sacco and Vanzetti are still on trial and probably always will be."

Sacco and vanzetti case essay - Little Pixel Studio

Celebrated writers, artists, and academics pleaded for their pardon or for a new trial. Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court justice argued for their innocence in a widely read article that was later published in book form. Sacco and Vanzetti were scheduled to die in April 1927, accelerating the outcry. Responding to a massive influx of urging their pardon, Massachusetts governor appointed a three-man commission to investigate the case. After weeks of secret deliberation that included interviews with the judge, lawyers, and several witnesses, the commission upheld the verdict. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair just after midnight on August 23, 1927. Subsequent riots destroyed property in Paris, London, and other cities.


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After a few hours' deliberation on July 14, 1921, the jury convicted Sacco and Vanzetti of and they were sentenced to death by the trial judge. A series of appeals followed, funded largely by the private Sacco and Vanzetti Defense Committee. The appeals were based on recanted testimony, conflicting ballistics evidence, a prejudicial pre-trial statement by the jury foreman, and a confession by an alleged participant in the robbery. All appeals were denied by trial judge and also later denied by the Massachusetts State Supreme Court. By 1926, the case had drawn worldwide attention. As details of the trial and the men's suspected innocence became known, Sacco and Vanzetti became the center of one of the largest in modern history. In 1927, protests on their behalf were held in every major city in North America and Europe, as well as in , , , , , and .

The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti

At the outset the scope of Judge Thayer's duty toward the motion for a newtrial based upon this new evidence must be kept in mind. It was not for him todetermine the guilt of the Morellis or the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti; itwas not for him to weigh the new evidence as though he were a jury, determiningwhat is true and what is false. Judge Thayer's duty was the very narrow one ofascertaining whether here was new material fit for a new jury's judgment. Mayhonest minds, capable of dealing with evidence, reach a different conclusion,because of the new evidence, from that of the first jury? Do the new factsraise debatable issues? Could another jury, conscious of its oath andconscientiously obedient to it, be sufficiently impressed with the new evidenceto reach a verdict contrary to the one that was reached on a record whollydifferent from the present, in view of evidence recently discovered and notadduceable by the defense at the time of the original trial? To all thesequestions Judge Thayer says, "No." This amazing conclusion he reached afterstudying the motion "for several weeks without interruption" and set forth inan opinion of 25,000 words! We wish for nothing more than that every reader whohas proceeded thus far should study the full text of this latest Thayeropinion. Space precludes its detailed treatment here. To quote it, to analyzeit, adequately to comment upon it would require a book. Having now put thematerials for detailed judgment at the disposal of readers, we are compelled toconfine ourselves to a few brief observations. By what is left out and by whatis put in, the uninformed reader of Judge Thayer's opinion would be whollymisled as to the real facts of the case. Speaking from a considerableexperience as a prosecuting officer, whose special task for a time it was tosustain on appeal convictions for the Government, and whose scientific dutiessince have led to the examination of a great number of records and the opinionsbased thereon, I assert with deep regret, but without the slightest fear ofdisproof, that certainly in modern times Judge Thayer's opinion standsunmatched for discrepancies between what the record discloses and what theopinion conveys. His 25,000-word document cannot accurately be describedotherwise than as a farrago of misquotations, misrepresentations, suppressions,and mutilations. The disinterested inquirer could not possibly derive from it atrue knowledge of the new evidence that was submitted to him as the basis for anew trial. The opinion is literally honeycombed with demonstrable errors, and aspirit alien to judicial utterance permeates the whole. A study of the opinionin the light of the record led the conservative which long heldthe view that the sentence against these men should be carried out, to a frankreversal of its position.