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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/266

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258 V. C. WOODWARD political and otherwise, now "rallied to the party conventions and were active participants therein, as though they were na- tive to the manor born." 1 With these, party success was more important than unwavering allegiance to some abstract prin- ciple. It must not be inferred, however, that the later acces- sions to the party were actuated solely by personal and mer- cenary motives. Many of those who had been associated with the beginnings of Republicanism in Oregon might almost be termed professional reformers. They had aided in the temper- ance movement, had been identified with Knownothingism, abolitionism and had advocated various doctrines regarded by the public at large as visionary and fanatical. This explains to some degree the extent to which the early Republicans had been maligned. Their very zeal caused them to be mistrusted. It was the anxious purpose of the Republicans in 1859 to free themselves from all stigma of fanaticism, and to inspire confi- dence in themselves as statemen rather than to incur suspicion as doctrinaires. This did not mean necessarily a desertion of Republican principles. It did imply a re-statement of them and some readjustment, as on the question of popular sovereignty. It is from this general situation that the conservative, semi- orthodox attitude of the Oregon Republicans in 1859, must be viewed. Dryer, who was a good example of the second edition Republicans, gave apt expression to their viewpoint in the fol- lowing: "There are a large number of people possessed of a kind of night-mare upon this question of slavery. This class is composed both of the ultraists for and the ultraists against slavery. Each branch of this class seems to have set up a Congo Negro as a fit subject or idol of their worship. We are none of this class and we speak for the Republican party of Oregon by authority, when we sav that they do not compose either branch of this class." 2 The election resulted in almost a political revolution. The issue was long in doubt and when finally determined it was found that Stout had been elected by a bare majority of 16 i Davenport, in Oregon Historical Quarterly for December, 1908, p. 334. sOregonian, Aug. 6.