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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/149

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 141 as subversive of republicanism and productive of anarchy. This led directly to an expression on the situation in Oregon. Noting the fact that the people were called on to elect delegates to a constitutional convention and to pass upon the question of slavery in Oregon before the Democratic party should again assemble, they declared that in the choice of those delegates they would not discriminate between pro-slavery and free state Democrats ; that the delegates should not predetermine that question in the formation of the constitution, but should sub- mit the same in a separate clause to be voted upon directly by the people. Here was a practical recognition of the doctrine of popular sovereignty to which Oregon Democrats long pointed with pride. 1 It was all the more popular with them as a solution, in that it saved them the necessity of assuming an embarrassing if not fatal position upon the all-important ques- tion. The paramount issue with Oregon Democrats was Ore- gon Democracy and its perpetuity. Party declaration upon the disturbing issue of slavery, which would foment party dissen- sion and invite party disruption and loss of power, must be avoided at all hazards. The one consuming desire of the regu- lar or machine Democrats was to maintain the organization in- tact. From this standpoint it was therefore a very serious situa- tion which confronted the Democracy. Hence the humor and significance of the eleventh and following resolution could hard- ly have appealed to the convention: "Resolved That each member of the Democratic party in Oregon may freely speak and act according to his individual convictions of right and policy upon the question of slavery in Oregon, without in any manner impairing his standing in the Democratic party on that account provided that nothing in these resolutions shall be construed in toleration of black republicanism, abolitionism or any other factor or organization arrayed in opposition to the i Resolution adopted by Linn County Democratic convention, March, 1858: With pride and exultation we point the citizens of the States and Territories to the course pursued by the people in Oregon in framing, canvassing and adopt- ing their state constitution. . . Because here, the principles embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill have had their first and only fair and legitimate test; and here, too, their wisdom, equity and practicability have been triumphantly vindi- cated. In Statesman, March 16, 1858.