Sacco and Vanzetti / Summary

By Sara R.



  • 1908. More than 130.000 Italians emigrated to the USA.
  • We can highlight. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
  • Both came from peasant families, rooted in the Italian soil
  • Sacco was from the south and Vanzetti from the north
  • They abandoned their agrarian heritage for the career of an urban worker
  • Their lives: usual struggles, disappointments and successes
  • Both became militant anarchists who followed a course of clandestine insurgency


  • Was born, the third son in a family of seventeen children. Nicholas was not his original name. He was baptized Ferdinando or Nando
  • He grew up in comfortable circumstances
  • His father was a peasant who married Angela Mosmacotelli
  • As property owners and employers, the Saccos were a respected family who played a role in public affairs
  • He grew up in a happy environment with happy affection and love
  • He was attached to his mother-kindly and generous temper. He had excellent health and genial disposition
  • Alert and intelligent, he never liked school. He was unable to read and write when he came to America
  • He went to work to his father’s vineyard
  • His closest companion was his brother Sabino
  • Nando was fascinated by machines


  • Three years older than Sacco
  • The son of a farmer who lived in the town of Villafalletto – agriculture; especially: hay
  • His father gave space to his family. – three unmarried brothers and a sister. His father trade with wine, fruits and grain
  • This family was regarded as the most regarded highly family of the community
  • He marriage Giovanna Nivello


  • Sabino and Sacco left their country -Torremaggiore and went to America
  • A considerable number of Italians inmigrants arrived to America
  • A period of economic prosperity had given way to a depression. –Jobs were hard to find. Sabino worked in a foundry and Ferdinando was hired by the Cenedella Construction Company
  • By 1910 Depression had faded
  • Sacco founded employment in a factory at Webster. After seven months, he returned to America and was hired by the Milford shoe Company
  • According to John J. Millick, Sacco was considered a hard worker : he was a genius, precise, and a wonderful worker
  • He did not drink, he was a clean young man, intelligent, courteous, polite, good-natured and easy going person with a friendly disposition
  • He had a relationship with Rosina
  • The conditions he saw in America turned him towards anarchism
  • The appeal of anarchism for Sacco was ethical and emotional: “for all his good fortune, he too was a worker, a victim of capitalist injustice”.
  • He develop an interest in libertarian ideas. He attended an anarchist group known as: ‘The Circolo di Studi Sociali of Milford’- He loved them as his own family. Sacco considered anarchism a noble-faith
  • He thought that capitalism was evil, government is slavery, war is a crime against humanity, freedom is essential for human development
  • He arranged meetings, appeared in newspapers and distributed anarchist literature- appearing in strikes and demonstrations
  • The meetings brought Sacco, Paradiso and Fiesco into problems. – They were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace. Three months in prison. At the same time of his imprisonment, his daughter Alba died
  • On April 6, 1917, The United States entered the war in Europe. Sacco went to Mexico where he met Bartolomeo Vanzetti
  • Vanzetti asked for work once he arrived to America. –He was poor. A farmer helped him and gave Vanzetti and his friend a job. ‘ The first Americans who treated us as human despite the fact that we came from the land of Dante and Garibaldi’.
  • Time later, he worked in a brick factory, he abandoned and lived in a colony of Northern Italians. Then, he worked in a stony quarry perfoming a variety of jobs
  • In the Summer of 1911, he returned to NY where he worked as a cheff
  • Once he left the job, he was for five months without job –Living in poor conditions
  • Vanzetti went to Massachusetts where he worked on a railroad section gang. He won enough money in order to solve his debts
  • He adopted several pen-names: ‘il Picconiere’
  • With twenty-four, Vanzetti’s first job was carrying stones in the construction of a reservoir. Then, he went to work for the American Steel
  • Vanzetti appetite for knowledge was insatiable
  • His opinion about Government: ‘ as for Government they are all the same. Power and abuse of power are synonims’. He believed in the Communal Society: ‘ free towns administered by their citizens and sustained by a network of workers cooperatives founded on free initiative, both individual and collective. Mutual aid and co-operation shall be the very base of a completely new social system, or else, nothing is accomplished
  • For Vanzetti, the present system was the source of injustice, oppression, domination, falsity in human relations, cruelty, humiliation. He was a fighter and, he wanted to bring the opposite of this
  • Vanzetti foresaw the possibility of a sudden overthrow of the existing order and the building of a new society on libertarian lines
  • Concerning the church: Vanzetti said: ‘ I cannot believe any of the many religious beliefs which came under my mind’s eyes
  • He was an anarchists and believed that anarchism was: ‘ calm, serene, honest, natural, viril, muddy, celestial at once; but also, austere, heroic, fearless, fatal, generous and implacable. –Drawing humanity towards better destinies
  • Vanzetti entered jail for a second time – His role in the strike had marked him as a dangerous radical
  • In 1915, he worked in the construction of a breakwater in Massachusetts
  • In 1917, he did a surprising thing for a militant anarchist. By then, the USA entered the War and Vanzetti leave for Mexico
  • He loved flowers, nature and the sea and he established a good relationship with Beltrando – whom he treated as if he were his son
  • He was a simple man. He did not drink but he smoke a pipe. He showed no interest in marriage and he did not have a girlfriend during his life.
  • Apart from Vanzetti, we can find other anarchists such as: Merlino, Gore and Giuseppe Ciancabilla