II
The Promise of American
Socialism: The Campaign of 1900

Promising indeed is the outlook for Socialism in the United States. The very contemplation of the prospect is a well-spring of inspiration.

Eugene V. Debs, 1900

In the golden age of American socialism, prior to the World War, there was nothing quite like a socialist convention. Such gatherings focused the discontents and differences of opinion of the membership and few conventions passed without invective and violence, often over the most trivial of points. The SLP had more than its share of the masters of invective, and its conventions and organizational meetings on every level were often scenes of tumult and shouting.

By 1898-1899 the stresses and strains in the fabric of DeLeon's SLP were all too plain. Though the party enjoyed rising membership and encouraging electoral success on local levels, appearances of growth and unity were deceptive. Inside the party a strong rebellion against DeLeon's tyrannical leadership was brewing. As the party convention in New York approached in 1899, a group led by Morris Hillquit prepared to make themselves known or break away from their comrades. Angered by DeLeon's

-27-

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