POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 233 The political situation in the campaign of 1858 is confusing. For, while many issues were declared, the one real issue was who should have the offices ?' Should the Salem Clique con- tinue to dominate Oregon politics? Hence, any attempt to explain the political alignments in the light of national issues then before the people leads to confusion. The regular Demo- cratic ticket was referred to as the pro-savery ticket by the enemies of the Clique. True, it was headed by Whiteaker, an avowed slavery man, and the "hards" strongly upheld Bu- chanan in his Kansas policy. However, in interpreting the Dred Scott decision, Bush and other leaders of the "hards" were more conservative than some of the opposition Demo- crats, represented by the Occidental Messenger, which held that even a state did not have the right to keep slavery out of its borders. In fact, the members of the Clique were un- derstood to be free state men. Nevertheless, the "hards" ap- plied indiscriminately the epithet "Black Republican" to the "soft" Democrats. Both free state and pro-slavery Democrats were found co-operating with the maligned "freedom shriek- ers" for the purpose of beating the Organization. Bush charged the Messenger or "Avery's Ox," with being as silent as death on the subject of slavery and Black Republicans during the campaign, for the reason that Avery was running for office and wanted Republican support But he showed that after the election the latter again took up the cause of slavery and restored the prefix "Black" to his erstwhie friends, the Re- publicans. 2 But Bush certainly had very little ground for charging anyone with inconsistency in this campaign. He was at heart, and had been openly, an enthusiastic supporter of Douglas and his policies. But with the break between Douglas and Bu- chanan, the Oregon Democracy espoused the latter and politi- cal patronage, as illustrated in the platform adopted. Bush, wishing to retain the lucrative job of public printer, quietly accepted the Buchanan, Lecompton platform and had no word iM. P. Deady, correspondence to San Francisco Bulletin, dated April 20, 1864. sStatesman, June 29.
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