The Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti: for a generation of Americans, the names of the two Italian anarchists are
forever linked. Questions surrounding their 1921 trial for the murders of a paymaster and his
guard bitterly divided a nation. As the two convicted men and their supporters struggled on
through appellate courts and clemency petitions to avoid the electric chair, public interest in
their case continued to grow. As the end drew near, in August 1927, hundreds of thousands of
people--from Boston and New York to London and Buenos Aires--took to the streets in protest of
what they perceived to be a massive miscarriage of justice.
From the time of their conviction until decades after their deaths,
people lined up in one of two camps: one camp of those believing
that Sacco and Vanzetti were the innocent victims of political and
economic interests determined to send a message about the rising
tide of anarchist violence and another camp of those believing
that the trial was fair and that the two murderers got what they
deserved. A third possibility, that one of the two men might have
been guilty and the other innocent, received little or no attention
until a ballistics test in 1961 provided strong evidence that Sacco
did indeed fire a fatal bullet on that April day long ago in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Often,
it turns out, the truth lies somewhere in between.
-Douglas O. Linder, Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
From the website Famous Trials, read about The Trial Sacco and Vanzetti- 1921.
Respond to the following in a typed 1-2 page paper. Make sure you do not plagiarize!!!! You
will need to respond in your own words. You will want to use specific information from the
source material provided, but again, make sure to appropriately cite, paraphrase, etc.
What was the evidence presented to convict Sacco and Vanzetti?
How did the prosecution plead the case?
Who defended Sacco and Vanzetti in the trial?
What role did The Red Scare play in the trial?
What role did anti-immigration sentiment and anarchism play in the trial?
How fair was the trial?
What occurred in the ensuing years after the trial?
What was the ultimate fate of Sacco and Vanzetti?
Given the evidence, do you think they committed the crime? Explain. (IMPORTANT!)