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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/134

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126 W. C. WOODWARD violated the spirit of the Ordinance of 1787, repealed the Mis- souri Compromise and, through the fiction of popular sover- eignty, threw open the territories to slavery. No better exam- ple can be had of the far-reaching consequence of the recogni- tion of the Kansas-Nebraska principle and of the promulga- tion of doctrines which grew out of it. Oregon, far out on the North Pacific, with conditions and interests wholly foreign to those within the arena of conflict, is forced, against her will, to become embroiled in the bitter contest. This, in the face of the imperious demand of the South addressed to the North "Why can't you let slavery alone?" The far-reaching effects of the injection of this foreign issue into Oregon pol- itics, it will be the purpose of this and succeeding chapters to show. The same day on which the Washington County Whig con- vention passed a resolution condemning the policy of the pro- posed Kansas-Nebraska measure, the regular Democratic view was voiced by the Yamhill County Democratic conven- tion. The delegates to the latter announced that they had not read with indifference the debates in the United States Senate on the subject of popular sovereignty in the territories, and expressed the hope that the time had fully arrived when the citizens of a territory were no longer to be considered the property of the United States. 1 How apt an expression of the old desire for local independence of hostility to all super- imposed authority! In the same spirit, the Democratic Terri- torial convention of the following year hailed the enactment "which restored to the people of the territories, their rights as American citizens." 2 The principle of popular sovereignty had a different and far greater significance to most Oregon Democrats, than its mere relation to the slavery question. They pushed the doctrine to its logical conclusion at once. To them it meant the fulfillment of their hopes and demands for com- plete self-government; for election of all Territorial officers. It meant the end of imported officials. i Statesman, May 23, 1854. aStatesman, April 17, 1855.