Sacco & Vanzetti
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Italians Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were accused of murder and robbery. On April 15,1920 in South Braintree, Massachusetts, a paymaster and his guard were $16,000. Two men then appeared and open fired. The men then stole the money and escaped. Then on May 5, 1920 the police set up a trap to catch a suspect of the Braintree crime. Sacco and Vanzetti then fell into it and were taken custody. Before they were going to be tried for the Braintree crime, Vanzetti was charged for a previous hold up attempt. Vanzetti and a strong alibi supported by many witnesses but was still found guilty. Because many of his witnesses spoke mostly Italian and were not fluent in English many had to speak through a translator. They failed to convince the jury. Vanzetti was then sentenced to 10 to 15 years in jail. It was an excessively harsh punishment for a first time offense. Next came the trail for the Braintree crime. When questioned about the incident, the men lied to conceal their political stance and to protect their friends. This however hurt them. Their new lawyer, Fred H. Moore, then decided that he would have Sacco and Vanzetti admit their radicalism and have them try to argue that their prosecution was because of their involvement with anarchist groups. The trial became a fight between patriotism and radicalism and in the end Sacco and Vanzetti were found guilty. On August 23, 1927 they were executed. Unfortunately for them they lived in a time of intolerance and suspicion. Americans were still fearful of radical ideas and communism and overreacted to certain things. This case is one example. Even if the men were innocent, in the eyes of Americans they were guilty because of their ethnicity and radical views.