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Tainted Justice The Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti Beneath the surface of economic prosperity and social liberation America in the 1920s was a place of great fear distrust and prejudice The Russian Revolution of 1917 had heightened anxieties about global Socialist movements and any political ideology which strayed from good old-fashioned white-Protestant patriotism was met with suspicion and often hostility This Red Scare resulted in violations of the civil rights of many immigrants and other individuals in an attempt to protect American democracy against the cancer of socialism It was amid this climate of fear and prejudice that two Italian immigrants Niccola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti fell victim to an American judicial system that reflected the prejudices of the society it presided over The Italian ethnicity and radical political beliefs of Sacco and Vanzetti affected the process of their trial and its resulting conviction On April 15 1920 two men ambushed and killed two employees of the Slater and Morrill shoe factory in South Braintree Massachusetts The murderers escaped with two payroll boxes which contained 15 77651 On May 5 1920 Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the Braintree murders On July 14 1921 following a seven-week trial they were found guilty of murder in the first degree Seven years later after numerous appeals and strong public protest Sacco and Vanzetti were executed These events have since spawned a large controversy as there is much evidence which suggests that Sacco and Vanzettis trial was unjust and the verdict may have been reached in a spirit of prejudice At the time of the trial Massachusetts was considered one of the most conservative states in America and it was from this pool of conservatism that 12 white males were selected to serve as the jurors in the trial One researcher observed that the jurors were all cut out of the same
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