Massive Protests By Nicola Sacco

Nicola Sacco, born April 22, 1891, was an Italian-born American anarchist in the 1920’s and was notorious for being convicted of a crime along with his partner Bartolomeo Vanzetti. While America suffered from the social disease known as the “Red Scare”, Sacco got caught up in the midst of the outbreak when he, and Vanzetti, were accused and charged with armed robbery and double murder in September of 1920. Their case was founded on anti-immigrant bias and revolved around their radical ways instead of the crime itself.

Drawing national attention, mass protests were held in support of Sacco, serving as a statement for all immigrants in America to be treated equal. Sacco advocated against the oppressive government and, through his anarchist ideologies, believed that business-flooded governments needed to be destroyed for social justice. The chief prosecutor of his case despised him for these ideas and had him strapped to the electric chair.

Nicola Sacco’s arrest and execution was unfair due to political and social bias of italian immigrants and anarchists coming from the jury.

Any court case in the United States of America, with any suspect regardless of their background, has the right to the presumption of innocence principle. However, in Sacco’s case, the jury treated him as guilty until proven innocent because of his ideologies and his italian descent. The jury in his case was instructed to “keep the instruments of justice free from the infection of passion or prejudice. In the case of Sacco and Vanzetti no such restraints were respected” (Frankfurter).

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Their innocence was automatically stripped from them because their views were not in favor of the court. Neither of the men had criminal records, yet “it was argued that they had committed the robbery to acquire funds for their anarchist political campaign” (Simkin). The jury did not have any knowledge or evidence of this alleged campaign, yet they ridiculed Sacco for his political motives.

Nonetheless, the judge, Webster Thayer, “was clearly prejudiced against anarchists”(Simkin). There was evidently an abundance of prejudice found throughout the case, Besides being derided for their political beliefs, they were also targeted for their foreign background. Their lack of the english language already gave Sacco and Vanzetti a disadvantage, and their case “which included suppressed evidence and an openly biased judge, was deemed a mockery” (Editorial). Sacco also had an alibi, sticking to his story the entire case. He was taking a family picture with his wife, while Vanzetti was selling fish in plymouth (Simkin). These alibis were widely supported by Italian immigrants, which raised the eyebrows of the jury, thinking they were all in on a scam together. While in custody, “quotas restricting Italian immigration quotas became law in 1924”(Waxman).

To conclude, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were treated unfairly by the jury due to political and social bias. Their case practically flew past official analyzation and was only skimmed of the surface by prosecutors. The jury, judge and chief prosecutor never considered the men innocent due to their anarchist beliefs and their italian background, regardless of the lack of factual evidence and the lack of reliable witnesses. When they were on trial, prejudice overwhelmed them as they fought for their rights as Italian-American immigrants. In the end, they were sentenced to death on August 23, 1927 without a just cause, or lack thereof. They’re legacy made a statement for immigrants to be treated equally in the court of law, regardless of their nationality. Similar to the Red Scare, the uprising of global Islamic terrorism has changed the way some people look at the people of that culture. The attitude towards muslims shows to be just as harsh in some parts of America as the prejudice Nicola’s Italian culture experienced. As Nicola Sacco famously said, “You try to put a path between us and some other nationality that hates each other. That is why I am here today on this bench, for having been of the oppressed class. Well, you are the oppressor.’

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Massive Protests By Nicola Sacco. (2021, Dec 25). Retrieved from

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