Tom Watson, Agrarian Rebel

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
Race, Class, and Party

When Watson led the people out,
They marched thro' flood and flame;
Old Livingston tried to turn them back,
But they got there all the same.1

SPECULATING UPON THE APPROACHING STRUGGLE for reëlection, Watson wondered whether the people understood the nature of the conflict before them. It was, he believed, the same struggle that in the past had been fought "upon the field of battle, behind barricades, in the streets of cities, about the scaffold and guillotine . . . but never at the ballot box, as it will next October and November." It was, in his terms, the struggle between "Democracy and Plutocracy":

We wonder if the people generally understand the full significance of this fact? Do our friends understand it? Do our enemies appreciate its meaning? If so, then the coming contest will be sharp indeed. There will be neither asking nor giving of quarter, for upon both sides there will be the consciousness that the contending forces are not unequally matched, and that as they represent totally different and opposing ideas and theories, there can be but one settlement of the matter at issue, and that it must come through the utter overthrow of the one or the other of the parties to the contest.2

____________________
1
P. P. P., April 28, 1892.
2

Ibid., March 10, 1892.

-216-

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