The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 66
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
in El Paso, Nugent went to Fort Worth in 1892 and entered
into law partnership with John W. Wray. He died on December
Judge Nugent ceased to consider himself a member of the
Democratic party in 1889.3 Nationally, previous reform parties
and reform-minded bolters from the old parties began to form a
solid front for reform in 1888 and 1890, with the People's party
taking shape during the years 189o through i892 as the result.
The Texas unit of the new party had its inception in August,
1891. From the beginning, Nugent was mentioned as the can-
didate for governor. At the first Populist state convention in
1892, he was nominated to oppose James Stephen Hogg and
George Clark, the candidates of the liberal and conservative wings
of the Democratic party. Renominated in 1894, Nugent made
the race against Charles Culberson, the candidate of the reunited
As a candidate of the People's party, Nugent was to say that
the Democratic party had become an empty shell,4 had "quit the
paths of the fathers" and their dictum of "Equal rights to all,
special privileges to none," so that "we cannot longer hope for
any relief from the Democratic party."6 The party, he believed,
had acquired a new character and new masters.
2Nugent, Nugent, 15-16; Dallas Morning News, June 23, 25, August 15, and Sep-
tember 16, 1892; Martin, People's Party in Texas, 115. Martin states that during
Nugent's last term on the district bench he was among those mentioned for the
Democratic nomination for the court of appeals. Nugent, Nugent, 279, shows that,
as the independent political movement began to run strong in Texas early in 1892,
he was also mentioned for the Texas Supreme Court.
8Dallas Morning News, June 25, 1892; John W. Wray in Nugent, Nugent, 55.
Wray, Nugent's Fort Worth law partner, explained that in Nugent's belief the party
had "become a machine for the personal and political aggrandizement of the few
and for the sacrifice of the rights and liberties of the people to the god of mammon
and corruption." This was rather standard Populist belief, and Nugent himself
stated it in nearly every speech.
4Speech at San Marcos, July 21, 1893, in Nugent, Nugent, 164, and Dallas
Morning News, July 22, 1893. Mrs. Nugent dated this speech 1892, but it appeared
in the News on the above date as having been delivered the day before. All of the
reproductions of Nugent's speeches in Mrs. Nugent's book seem to have been taken
from newspapers rather than from original manuscripts. In several cases the head-
lines are included. The News, the Fort Worth Gazette, and the Southern Mercury
must have been the principal sources.
This speech at San Marcos had reform and reformers as a theme, setting forth a
philosophy of reform and a religious justification for it. Its intellectual plane must
have been considerably above that of most of its hearers.
5Speech at Stephenville, June 11, 1892, in Nugent, Nugent, 238, and Dallas
Morning News, June 13, 1892.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/84/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.