Uphill All the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929
By Kevin C. Murphy, Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Click HERE to return to the full Table of Contents

Chapter Six:
Legacies of the Scare

Progressives, Civil Liberties, and Labor

IV. The Shoemaker
and the Fish-Peddler


I. The Education of Jane Addams.
II. Prisoners of Conscience.
III. The Laws and the Court.
IV. Shoemaker and Fish-Peddler.
V. The Shame of America.
VI. The Right to Organize.
VII. Professional Patriots.

While progressives of the Twenties may not have been attuned to the plight of Carrie Buck, the grim fate of Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti was a cause célèbre throughout much of the Twenties. In fact, the many well-publicized legal discrepancies attending their case, and their ultimate execution on August 23, 1927, did more than almost any other event of the decade to embitter progressives on both the judicial system and American public opinion at large. "Nothing since World War I," wrote historian Eric Foner in 1977, "so shook the liberal faith in the workings of American institutions or the self-sufficiency of the rule of law." "No single act," argued William Leuchtenburg, "did more to turn liberal intellectuals to radicalism."1

Both supporters of Luigi Galleani, the Italian anarchist whose compatriots had sent out the fifteen mail bombs to A. Mitchell Palmer and others in 1919, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were taken from a streetcar and arrested in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts on the evening of May 5th, 1920. Apparently presuming they were being arrested for their radicalism - not a wild presumption given it was the week of May Day, and the Attorney General had promised everyone fireworks - both men lied about their anarchism, their whereabouts, and their companions that night, as well as their earlier failure to register for the draft in 1917, when they had both fled to Mexico. Both Sacco and Vanzetti were carrying firearms at the time, a .32 Colt Automatic and a .38 Harrington and Richardson pistol respectively. Also in Vanzetti's pocket were a handful of shotgun shells, and in Sacco's pocket was a flier announcing an upcoming anarchist lecture by Vanzetti.2

As this handbill attested, Sacco, a cobbler at a shoe factory with a wife and children, and Vanzetti, an itinerant but well-read fish peddler, were both active in anarchist circles. In lying to the police like this, Sacco and Vanzetti may have been thinking about their fellow anarchist Andrea Salsedo, whose prolonged two-month detention in New York City Vanzetti had only just returned from looking into. Two days before Vanzetti's arrest, Salsedo had, in the midst of an interrogation by federal agents, somehow fallen to his death from a fourteen-story window, soon after allegedly fingering the Galleanists in and around Lynn, Massachusetts as the architects of the 1919 bombings.3

In any case, the police had more than radicalism on their minds anyway, for a robbery and double murder had occurred three weeks earlier, on the afternoon of April 15th, 1920, in nearby South Braintree, Massachusetts. Then, two Italian men had shot and killed Fredrick Parmenter and Alessandro Beradelli, a paymaster and guard at the Slater & Morrill shoe factory, grabbed the $15,776.51 they were carrying, and absconded in a getaway car carrying three other men that arrived as soon as the foul deed was done. Since the authorities knew of an Italian radical with a car in the area, one Mike Boda (a.k.a. Mario Buda), they wanted to talk to him. Instead, they found Sacco and Vanzetti, who had just left the garage where Boda's car was under repair. Sacco and Vanzetti also claimed not to know Boda, which added to the "consciousness of guilt" they were charged with from then on.4

Since a previous attempted robbery at a shoe factory in Bridgewater had involved a man firing a shotgun, Bartolomeo Vanzetti - on account of the shells found in his pocket - was quickly tried on June 1920 of that earlier crime. The defense brought forth almost a dozen witnesses that put Vanzetti in Plymouth, Massachusetts on the day of the robbery, but, within a month, Vanzetti - who did not take the stand in his own defense, to avoid the radicalism charge - was found guilty regardless. The judge, Webster Thayer, sentenced him to 12 to 15 years. Two months later, on September 11th, 1920, Sacco and Vanzetti were indicted for the Braintree murders. And five days later, possibly as retaliation for this indictment, Mike Boda, just before fleeing to Naples, allegedly set off the bomb that killed 39 on Wall Street.5

A year later, on May 31st, 1921, Sacco and Vanzetti were tried for the Braintree murders in the Boston suburb of Dedham. And, whether the two men were innocent or guilty in the end, the proceedings very quickly took on the air for many of an out-and-out railroading. Prosecutors delivered multiple witnesses putting Sacco at the scene of the crime - only, it turned out, Sacco had previously been shown to these witnesses by the police in a lineup of one. One eyewitness pegged Vanzetti as the getaway driver, but others had testified the wheelman as having markedly paler features and no moustache. Another testified that he clearly saw Sacco in the getaway car, but then confessed on cross-examination that he had in fact run away as soon as the shots were fired. Yet another "thought at the first glance that the man was a Portuguese fellow named Tony that he knew," before testifying it was instead, definitively, Sacco. And yet another complained to a Quincy shopkeeper afterward that "the Government took me down [to jail] and want me to recognize those men and I don't know a thing about them. I have never seen them and I can't recognize them." None of these witnesses knew Sacco or Vanzetti personally.6

The heart of the state's case was the .32 slug pulled from the corpse of the guard, which State Police Captain William Proctor testified "was consistent with being fired" from Sacco's pistol. It later came out that Captain Proctor had been coached by the prosecution. "Had I been asked the direct question: whether I had found any affirmative evidence whether this so-called mortal bullet had passed through this particular Sacco's pistol," Captain Proctor later confessed in an October 1923 affidavit, "I should have answered then, as I do now without hesitation, in the negative." The prosecution also claimed that Vanzetti was in possession of the dead guard's gun. There was no evidence of this being the case. As for the nearly $16,000 in missing funds, it played no part at all in the prosecution.7

Meanwhile, the defense -- led by one Fred Moore of California, a Socialist who specialized in defending radicals and thus no friend of the Court -- provided thirteen witnesses putting Vanzetti in the fish market at the time of the crime, and several others who testified that Sacco had gone to, and was seen at, the Italian consulate in Boston that day obtaining a passport. To explain their initial lies to the police, around which the "consciousness of guilt" argument was formed, Sacco and Vanzetti revealed themselves to be anarchists, further damning them in many observers' eyes - especially when the prosecutor got Sacco going about his new homeland. "I thought here a man was free, free to give his own opinion, not to be put in prison for it as in the Spanish Inquisition" Sacco said on the stand. "But I found that too, was wrong; men of education were put in prison, kept there for years, like Debs, put there because he was a Socialist and dared to work for the labor classes. The capitalists didn't want the working class to get up. They do not want our children to go to high school or Harvard."8

Judge Webster Thayer, now presiding over his second case involving Vanzetti, was a Dartmouth man, but he was not one to cotton to such seditious talk in his courtroom. "Oh how unfortunate that any such doctrine," he had written after the anarchist bombings of 1919, "so destructive in its character and so revolutionary in all its tendencies should ever have reached the sacred shores of these United States!" A month before the first Vanzetti case, Judge Thayer had lectured a jury who had decided to acquit one Segris Zagroff. "Gentlemen, how did you arrive at such a verdict?" he berated them. "Did you consider the information that the defendant gave to the police officers…that he was a Bolshevist and that there should be a revolution in this country?" And during the Sacco-Vanzetti trial, he told a friend at the Worcester Golf Club (who later told humorist Robert Benchley, who then swore an affidavit to this effect) that "a bunch of parlor radicals are trying to get those Italian bastards off. I'll see them hanged and I'd like to hang a few dozen of the radicals too…No Bolsheviki could intimidate Web Thayer!"9

In any event, Judge Thayer had the two defendants sit in a metal cage in the center of the courtroom throughout the proceedings. According to Boston Globe writer Frank Sibley, Thayer said of defense counsel Fred Moore that "no longhaired anarchist from California is going to run my court!" He gave the prosecution free rein to delve not only into Sacco and Vanzetti's political beliefs, but into their earlier trip to Mexico to avoid the draft. He then began his summation to the jury by telling them that "the Commonwealth of Massachusetts called upon you to render a most important service. Although you knew that such service would be arduous, painful, and tiresome, yet you, like the true soldier, responded to that call in the spirit of supreme American loyalty. There is no better word in the English language than 'loyalty.'"10

Judge Thayer's inferences from the bench worked their magic: After a seven week trial, Sacco and Vanzetti were found guilty. "The verdict caused great surprise among persons who followed the trial," reported John Nicholas Beffel at the time in The New Republic. "[B]ecause of the wide conflict in the testimony of identification witnesses, many persons believed that the jury must either acquit the defendants or fail to reach an agreement." Clarence Skinner noted in The Survey the "persistent belief on the part of many" that the trial had been "an endeavor to railroad innocent men to death because they are radicals." "When in the face of this evidence, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty," wrote Elizabeth Glendower Evans in The Nation, "one has a confused sense of non sequitur, such as one feels when a prestidigitator produces a rabbit out of a hat."11

These articles aside, when the Sacco and Vanzetti case had begun, one Socialist reporter from New York sent to cover it reported back that "there's no story in it. Just two wops in a jam." Their conviction was noted in the papers, but over the next few years, as Judge Thayer singlehandedly rejected any and all motions to reopen the case -- according to Massachusetts law, the presiding judge held the power to determine whether a new case was warranted -- the plight of Sacco and Vanzetti was a story only followed by the radical press, the ACLU, agents of J. Edgar Hoover's Bureau of Investigation (who saw it as a window onto potential subversive activity), and a few well-meaning Bostonian matriarchs, such as Elizabeth Glendower Evans, who took on the cause of the two men and reported often in The Nation and The Survey. H.L. Mencken had cited the case as yet another unremarkable bout of hypocrisy in American law, and author John Dos Passos had been active with the Defense Committee since 1920, but otherwise the press, progressive or otherwise, was mostly silent.12

But the case began to heat up once again in November 1925 when a cellmate of Sacco's, Celestino Madeiros, confessed that he had committed the crime, along with a Providence-backed gang led by one Joe Morelli, who happened to look remarkably like Nicola Sacco. In fact, defense lawyers soon discovered, this Joe Morelli was already under federal indictment for five similar shoe factory robberies, he carried a .32 pistol, and when the defense team looked into the gang's whereabouts on the fateful evening, none of them had any alibis that could hold up. But, on October 23, 1926, after defense lawyers had put forward a motion to retry the case based on this confession, Judge Thayer - for the seventh and final time - denied it. "The decision of this capitalistic judicial tribunal is not surprising," wrote Eugene Debs in a statement released the month of his death. "It accords perfectly with the tragical farce and the farcical tragedy of the entire trial of these two absolutely innocent and shamefully persecuted working men." The following April, the Massachusetts Supreme Court refused to get involved for the second time, meaning Judge Thayer's sentence stood: death by electric chair. As the Judge bragged to a friend at a Dartmouth football game, "Did you see what I did with those anarchistic bastards?"13

The following month, May 1927, Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter, who had been aware of the case since the early days through his wife's friendship with Elizabeth Glendower Evans, released an article for The Atlantic Monthly and a book, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti. In both, he carefully laid out the reasons why the two men had received a prejudicial trial, and exposed Judge Thayer as a partisan. The judge's seventh denial, Frankfurter wrote, "cannot accurately be described otherwise than as a farrago of misquotations, misrepresentations, suppressions, and mutilations. The disinterested inquirer could not possibly derive from it a true knowledge of the new evidence that was submitted to him as the basis for a new trial. The opinion is literally honeycombed with demonstrable errors, and a spirit alien to judicial utterance permeates the whole."14

Along with awakening other progressives to the injustices of the case, Frankfurter's article suddenly gave Sacco and Vanzetti a frisson of both respectability and newsworthiness. (It also encouraged the police to secretly wiretap Frankfurter's phone.) Within the next few months, the case would become a worldwide sensation, with everyone from Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin to H.G Wells and Helen Keller calling for Sacco and Vanzetti's freedom. Frankfurter and the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee deliberately worked to mainstream the two Italian radicals, by downplaying their anarchism and instead recasting them merely as two poor victims of injustice and intolerance. (Frankfurter even asked the ACLU to stand down. "I hope very deeply you will do nothing until after the Sacco-Vanzetti case is out of the way completely," he wrote. "If the Civil Liberties Union and other like-minded organizations now come in, it is bound to be entangled with the efforts on behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti, and all such entanglements will hurt the cause of these men. I speak from a great deal of attention to the situation and a detailed familiarity, I believe, with the governing forces of the community.")15

For his part, William Allen White entreated with these same governing forces, urging them to reassess the case. "I now know why the witches were persecuted and hanged by upright and godless people," White wrote Governor Alvan Fuller of Massachusetts in June 1927. "This is a tremendously important case for America. It seems to me that our courts would be vastly more discredited before the world if we executed innocent men than they would be if we refrained to execute innocent men when there was even a shadow of doubt as to their guilt. Pardon this intrusion but this case seems to be wider than your state. It is America and America's justice which is on trial." Such attention from media figures and progressives prompted Fuller to appoint a three-man commission to ensure that justice had been done. This consisted of the president of Harvard, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, the president of MIT, Samuel Stratton, and a former judge, Robert Grant. These forces of respectability apparently decided to close ranks around Judge Thayer, and they - and Governor Fuller - decreed that there was "no sufficient justification for executive intervention."16

Observers were aghast at this final shoe dropping. "This is a matter of life and death, not only for Sacco and Vanzetti but for the civilization that Harvard University is supposed to represent," wrote John Dos Passos - who followed the Sacco-Vanzetti case with particular passion - in an open letter to Lowell. "As a Harvard man I want to protest most solemnly against your smirching of the university…with the foul crime against humanity and civilization to which you have made yourself aghast." The governor, New York World columnist Heywood Broun argued, had "no intention in all his investigation but to put a new and higher polish upon the proceedings. He called old men from high places" - including Lowell, the president of "Hangman's House" - "to stand behind his chair so that he might seem to speak with all the high authority of a high priest or a Pilate." Deadpanned Broun, who would soon be fired by World editor Ralph Pulitzer for his many vociferous editorials about the case, "What more can the immigrants from Italy expect? It is not every prisoner who has a president of Harvard throw on the switch for him."17

It wasn't just at the World where emotions ran hot. Around the world, from London to Paris to Casablanca to Uruguay, boycotts were called, strikes were held, American flags were burned, and deadly riots broke out. In an attempt to use these international protests as leverage, Jane Addams appealed to Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, William Borah, to call for a halt to the executions. This was not the sort of argument that worked well on him. "[I]t would be a national humiliation, a shameless cowardly compromise of national courage, to pay the slightest attention to foreign protests or mob protests at home," he responded. "We all you know your fine devotion to humanity, but neither humanity nor peace can be served by deferring to foreign interference, which is an impudent and willful challenge to our sense of decency and dignity and ought to be dealt with accordingly." The Nation was aghast. "What an extraordinary and often how disappointing a public man is William E. Borah!" it exclaimed. "Any petty agent of the National Security League might have penned these lines." Nonetheless, two days after responding to Addams, Borah did offer the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee his services.18

By then, it was too late. On August 23, 1927, as crowds of picketers waited outside and American Legion members sang "The Star Spangled Banner" - Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed. "Massachusetts has taken two lives with a vindictiveness and brutality unsurpassed in our history," argued Oswald Garrison Villard and Freda Kirchway in an editorial entitled "Massachusetts the Murderer." People "will speak for years to come with horror of a State in which two men could be executed after seven years of monstrous torture." This "legal murder," they argued, "strengthened the hands of violence and of all those persons who believe that the world can be reformed only by bombs and bloodshed. Everywhere they have made peaceful men and women despair that progress may be achieved without force…How crass, how degrading it all is!"19

The editors of The New Republic agreed. More than just a legal murder, they wrote, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti was a "betrayal of the faith in reason which is inherent in the composition of a liberal and humane state." "The representatives of the most reputable and highly educated public opinion in Massachusetts…felt impelled to manufacture out of thousands of questionable particular decisions a rope of certainty strong enough to be used as a hangman's cord." As a result, "what will suffer is the confidence of all classes in an appeal to reason for the correction of alleged wrongs and grievances. They have impaired the authority of reason in public life…Public opinion has submitted to this betrayal of its own hygienic principle."20

As a result, TNR argued, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti was particularly fatal to the hopes of liberals and progressives. "Their comrades in anarchy will, of course, do their best to apotheosize them as the victims of a ruthless and deliberate class conspiracy…[But f]rom the point of the view of the liberals, the judicial execution of Sacco and Vanzetti is a far more hopeless tragedy than it is from the point of view of the anarchists. For the cause of justice and fair-dealing in the execution of the criminal laws in which liberals were interested is a cause which is already supposed to have been won...The liberal defenders of the two Italians have, in failing to save the lives of the defendants, lost practically all that they were fighting for."21

No wonder, as Edmund Wilson put it, the executions "made the liberals lose their bearings." Or, as Upton Sinclair put it in Boston, his fictional retelling of the Sacco and Vanzetti story, "Don't you see the glory of this case? It kills off the liberals." The executions induced a "period of depression and heart searching" among progressives, argued Jane Addams three years later. "Some of us felt that the outcome of the Sacco and Vanzetti case threw away an opportunity unique in the history of the United States for demonstrating that we are here attaining a conception of justice broad and fundamental enough to span the reach of our population and their kinsfolk throughout the world." The verdict "forced me," later wrote Robert Morss Lovett, "to accept a doctrine which I had always repudiated as partisan tactics - the class war."22

Now, TNR, argued, it behooved progressives to realize "from the tragic deaths of Sacco and Vanzetti that American public opinion is still suffering from an ugly disease which is all the more dangerous because it brings with it the delusion of moral vitality and physical health.
Messrs Fuller and Lowell would never have attempted to deny Sacco and Vanzetti the benefit of the doubt except in atmosphere created by the class prejudices, the snobbishness, the confused landmarks, the inertia and the weak complaisance of educated American opinion… Fundamentally, it confuses intelligence with the definition and with the emotional affirmation of accepted principles rather than with a relentless and indefatigable habit and method of inquiry.23
"Such a confusion is fatal," TNR concluded, "for it exposes public opinion almost wholly unprotected to the assaults of propaganda." In other words, the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti were an indictment of public opinion itself. "Remember, please," wrote Heywood Broun on the first anniversary of the executions, "that the commotion against the Italian agitators was not confined to any single class in Massachusetts…A majority supported the verdict." Indeed, Broun continued, "it no longer seems to me that the injustice done may fairly be blamed upon the State of Massachusetts singled out from all the rest…There are scores of American communities in which Sacco and Vanzetti might have been killed with just as much goodwill." "We stand defeated America," author John Dos Passos would later write of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial:
"[A]ll right you have won you will kill the brave men our friends tonight.

there is nothing left to do we are beaten…

America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have turned our language inside out who have taken the clean words our fathers spoke and made them slimy and foul

their hired men sit on the judge's bench they sit back with their feet on the tables under the dome of the State House they are ignorant of our beliefs they have the dollars the guns the armed forces the powerplants

they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch all right we are two nations America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have bought the laws and fenced off the meadows and cut down the woods for pulp and turned our pleasant cities into slums and sweated the wealth out of our people and when they want to they hire the executioner to throw the switch24
For Dos Passos, as for many others, the illusion of a public interest that was independent of class interests was gone.

One writer who seemed reluctant to let the case shake his faith was former TNR editor Walter Lippmann, who had left for the New York World in 1921. When the Lowell Committee issued its final decision, Lippmann deemed its report one of "fairness, consideration, shrewdness, and coolness" and thought the Governor should simply commute the Sacco and Vanzetti sentences to life imprisonment. He backtracked on this some four days later, after an angry visit from Felix Frankfurter, arguing that since "multitudes of open-minded men remain unconvinced," it would be "bad public policy to execute two men about whose guilt a large part of the public had serious doubts." Nonetheless, after the two men were executed, Lippmann, in an editorial entitled "Patriotic Service," congratulated everyone involved - the Lowell Committee for doing "a disagreeable duty bravely" and being "willing to stake their reputations, to sacrifice their comfort, to face danger, in an effort to get at the truth," and Frankfurter and the defense committee for working to "uphold the rights of the humblest and most despised."25

Lippmann's tone-deaf response to the executions lost him some friends. The recently fired Heywood Broun called him "the greatest carrier of water on both shoulders since Rebecca at the well." Another World colleague, the later noir author James M. Cain, thought the "logic-chopping" editorial in question revealed that Lippmann had approached the executions as "an intellectual exercise, nothing more." Writing several years later, a still livid Amos Pinchot argued the "important thing [in Lippman's piece] is that the contending factions should be united by a common appreciation of Walter Lippmann's fairness." "Everybody up here was with you," Judge Learned Hand wrote Lippmann from New Hampshire, trying to cheer him up, "except Felix, to whom it was monstrous because even hypothetically it assumed that the report could be treated as emanating from human beings at all."26

Dwelling on the case further, Lippmann told Hand that he had "not been so troubled about anything since 1919, when against what I really believe was my own deepest and best feeling I let irritation against Wilson's stupidity push me into intransigent opposition to the Treaty":
The Sacco case was particularly difficult because I had so confidently assumed that the Lowell report would in no event mean the death penalty. The briefness of the time allowed for reaching an opinion, the atmosphere of horror and the very real danger of Red violence followed by White violence, made me feel as if we were being rushed into the gravest kind of decision without freedom of mind to consider it. You know that I was never convinced that they were innocent. At the end my feeling was a) that Sacco might be guilty and Vanzetti less probably, b) that the evidence against both was insufficient, c) that the trial was almost certainly conducted in a prejudiced atmosphere, d) that the Governor, though probably sincere within his lights, was infected with the psychology of class conflict which the case had provoked, e) that a commutation was the wiser course even though one could sympathize with the Governor's difficulty in yielding after the threats had been made.27
The fundamental problem for Lippmann, was that the members of the Lowell Committee, esteemed college presidents and such, were exactly the sorts of dispassionate public experts that, according to his 1922 book Public Opinion, should have come to the wisest conclusion. The fact that they apparently didn't - that the case didn't seem to have been decided with the public interest in mind at all - was a cognitive dissonance for Lippmann that he would have to grapple with for some time to come. Regardless, within two years, Lippmann settled himself back into the new mainstream opinion and argued that both Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent. "If Sacco and Vanzetti were professional bandits,' Lippmann wrote for a back-of-the-book blurb for a reprint of Felix Frankfurter's The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti, "then historians and biographers who attempt to deduce character from personal documents might as well shut up shop. By every test that I know for judging character, these are the letters of innocent men.'"28

But were they? To the present day, a sometimes heated debate continues on the presumed innocence or guilt of Sacco and Vanzetti. In 2005, a 1929 letter written by Upton Sinclair, soon after the publication of Boston, was unearthed that reopened the old wounds once again. In it Sinclair speaks of a meeting he had with Fred Moore, Sacco and Vanzetti's original lawyer, in Denver while researching the book. "I face the most difficult ethical problem of my life…Alone in a hotel room with Fred," Sinclair wrote, "I begged him to tell me the full truth. He then told me that the men were guilty and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them." But Moore also said Sacco and Vanzetti never actually told him they had committed the crime, and Sinclair thought the pair's former lawyer may just have been "brooding on his wrongs." In 1998, a manuscript emerged written by Joe Morelli, whose gang was accused of the crime by Sacco's cellmate. Morelli had confessed to the crime in 1931, but rescinded the confession four years later - In this manuscript, he called Sacco and Vanzetti "cold-blooded killers," and that he "knew of their racket." Joe's brother Frank, on the other hand, was quoted in a 1973 gangland memoir saying that "we killed those guys in the robbery, [and t]hese two greaseballs took it on the chin…That shows you how much justice there really is."29

Clearly, given the Galleanist bombings of 1919 and Mario Buda's likely involvement in the Wall Street bombing, Sacco and Vanzetti were associated with men who were not above -- indeed, actively believed in and endorsed -- violence as a political tool. Nonetheless, at a certain level, these questions are beside the point. As the editors of The New Republic put it after the executions, their magazine never "assumed the innocence of the accused and executed men. It has only declared that they never received a fair trial." Whether the State put two innocent men to death or the system tried to frame two guilty men, the end effect was the same: A stunned generation of progressives and intellectuals felt even further alienated from both the legal system and public opinion, which were supposed to be the fulcrum and lever of justice and progress in the world.30



Continue to Chapter 6, Pt. 5: The Shame of America.

Return to the Table of Contents.

1. Eric Foner, "Sacco and Vanzetti," The Nation, August 20, 1977, 141. Leuchtenburg, The Perils of Prosperity, 82.
2. Arthur Warner, ""Sacco-Vanzetti - A Reasonable Doubt," The Nation, September 28, 1921 (Vol. 113, No. 2934), 344. Foner, "Sacco and Vanzetti," 136.
3. Foner, 136. Lloyd Chiasson, Illusive Shadows: Justice, Media, and Socially Significant American Trials (Westport: Greenwood, 2003), 104.
4. Ibid.
5. Chiasson, 110. Gage, 325-326.
6. Frankfurter. Chiasson, 106-107. Foner, 137. Felix Frankfurter, "The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1927. Reprinted at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1927/03/the-case-of-sacco-and-vanzetti/6625/
7. Ibid. Elizabeth Glendower Evans, "New Light on a Bad Business," The New Republic, December 26, 1923, 117.
8. Foner, 137. Warner, 345. Moshik Temkin, The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 12.
9. Bruce Watson, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, The Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind (London: Penguin, 2007), 117-118. Chiasson, 114.
10. Theodore Grippo, With Malice Aforethought: The Execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (Bloomington: iUniverse, 2011), 183. Frankfurter.
11. John Nicholas Beffell, "The Sacco-Vanzetti Verdict," The New Republic, August 10, 1921, 299. Clarence Skinner, "The Sacco-Vanzetti Case," June 25, 1921, 431-432. Elizabeth Glendower Evans, "The Sacco and Vanzetti Cases," The Nation, June 15, 1921, 843.
12. Francis Russell, "America's Dreyfus Case," The New York Review of Books, February 4, 1982. Elizabeth Glendower Evans, "Sacco and Vanzetti," June 15, 1926, 364-365, 393. Temkin, 21-22.
13. Foner, 137. Chiasson, 110. Temkin, 22. Sacco & Vanzetti, John Davis, ed. (New York: Ocean Press, 2004), 58. When asked why he confessed to the crime, Madeiros said, "I seen Sacco's wife come up here with the kids and I felt sorry for the kids." Frankfurter.
14. Temkin, 31. Frankfurter. The article was first meant to appear in The New Republic, but Croly and Frankfurter agreed that placing it in The Atlantic Monthly, a more conservative magazine, would have more impact. Temkin.
15. Temkin, 34-35.
16. White to Gov. A.T. Fuller, June 1, 1927. White, Selected Letters, 272. "I am sorry for Lowell, whom I believe I know rather well," English social-psychologist Graham Wallas wrote Walter Lippmann after the fact. "He is public-spirited, with a vast amount of administrative drive, but if one goes for a long walk with him one finds him a little stupid. He will suffer horribly over the Sacco-Vanzetti business." Steel, 232.
17. Foner, 137. Murphy, Meaning of Freedom of Speech, 165. One person who was fine with Broun's dismissal from the World was his colleague, Walter Lippmann. The paper, he told a friend, "'has been very much more effective because we have not been drowned out by Heywood's soprano. There are a few times when a crisis is so great that a paper, if it's to be any use at all, must speak with one voice…The question has been whether Heywood or the editorial page was to be the voice of the New York World in Massachusetts. It's idle to pretend that the public, way up there, would separate Heywood from the paper, as a small minority here in New York who knew the inside and made the necessary discount. But the great mass of boobs who are milling around have no such inside knowledge, and when they hear Heywood say that Governor Fuller never intended to do justice, they conclude simply that we're an organ of one of the propaganda committees and that nothing we say need be listened to." Steel, 231.
18. The Nation, August 31, 1927 (Vol. 125, No. 3243), 189. Ashby, 215.
19. Watson. "Massachusetts the Murderer," The Nation, August 31, 1927 (Vol. 125, No. 3243), 192-193.
20. "Penalties of the Sacco-Vanzetti Execution," The New Republic, September 7, 1927, 57-59.
21. Ibid.
22. Foner, "Sacco and Vanzetti," 141. Leuchtenburg, Perils of Prosperity, 82. Addams, Second Twenty Years, 338-339. Schlesinger, Crisis of the Old Order, 141.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid. "It seems to Heywood Broun," The Nation, August 22, 1928 (Vol. 127, No. 3294), 171. John Dos Passos, "The Big Money," in USA (New York: Modern Library, 1937), 460-464.
25. Steel, 229-231.
26. Ibid, 231-232.
27. Ibid, 232-233.
28. Ibid, 233.
29. "Sinclair Letter Turns Out to Be Another Expose," Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2005. "Sacco and Vanzetti: Guilty After All?" NPR, March 4, 2006. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245754 "Penalties of the Sacco-Vanzetti Execution," TNR.. Watson, 363-365.
30. Gage, 327-328. "Penalties of the Sacco-Vanzetti Execution," TNR.

[Download Uphill all the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929 as a PDF.]

Main Page/Family/Links/Gallery/Biography/Soapbox/Resume/Writings/Weblog

If you found this dissertation useful or entertaining, please consider contributing to the tip fund.
Alas, history isn't the wildly remunerative discipline it used to be.