Sacco & Vanzetti

Contributor: Sarah Lerdal. Lesson ID: 11058

Immigration has always been an issue. For many immigrants it's a chance for a new life. For target countries it can be a cause of loss of the life they're used to. Read and opine about a pivotal case!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Do you think bias against legal immigrants still exists? In your opinion, are immigrants more or less likely to be blamed for America's problems than native-born citizens? Discuss these questions with your teacher or parent and then, if possible, an immigrant to the United States.

  • In times of crisis, how has the treatment of immigrants been impacted?

To compare America from 100 years ago to America of today, Eastern Europe is a place we need to start.

In 1917, Russia was being led by a tyrannical tsar. Russians stopped fighting on the side of the Allies so they could have a freedom revolution. Although the tsar was overthrown and the people wanted democracy, an anti-democratic dictator took the leadership in Russia. His name was Vladimir Lenin, and he brought an economic system known as communism. This article, Russian Revolution, will give you a more in-depth explanation of the revolution.

Research communism.

  • How does it differ from our economic system of capitalism?

Encyclopædia Britannica is a good source to use: Communism.

Communists came to be called "reds," named after the red flag of the worldwide communist organization. Members of the communist party were also known as Bolsheviks.

Americans feared that the communists would want to take over the United States. About the same time as the communists were coming to power (they renamed Russia the Soviet Union), anarchists were causing problems in America.

Look up the word "anarchism."

  • What do anarchists believe?

Read The Basics of Philosophy (Luke Mastin © 2008,

The wave of widespread fear of both communists and anarchists came to be known as the Red Scare.

This hysteria led to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer going on a witch-hunt for suspected communists and anarchists. He arrested thousands, then deported hundreds of people, most of whom were simply immigrants who were never charged with a crime. Check out's The Red Scare to more fully understand this time in American history.

A group of people thought that Palmer was overstepping his bounds, specifically the freedom of speech and other civil liberties. They formed a group known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU, which is still around today, quickly became involved in a very important court case.

America has been described as a melting pot of many different nationalities. View this cartoon from artist Cy Hungerford (StudyBlue). Discuss with your teacher the message this artist is trying to send.

  • How does it fit in with the era of the Red Scare?

Continue on to the Got It? section to research a famous spy case!

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