Should this conviction become
--as was inevitable--more and more prevalent, and should the plebeian
aristocracy at the head of its order take up the struggle with the
patrician nobility, it would wield in the tribunate a legalized
instrument of civil warfare, and it might, with the weapon of social
distress, so fight its battles as to dictate to the nobility the terms
of peace and, in the position of mediator between the two parties,
compel its own admission to the offices of state.
Such a crisis in the position of parties occurred after the fall of
the decemvirate. It had now become perfectly clear that the tribunate
of the plebs could never be set aside; the plebeian aristocracy could
not do better than seize this powerful lever and employ it for the
removal of the political disabilities of their order.