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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/43

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CHAPTER III ORGANIZATION OF THE OREGON DEMOCRACY Not until two years after the settlement of the Oregon ques- tion between the United States and Great Britain, did Congress take action looking toward giving Oregon a territorial organ- ization. The delay was occasioned by Southern members who objected to the anti-slavery clause in the proposed organic act. Not that they entertained a serious hope of seeing slavery established in Oregon. They fought in the first place the recognition of the principle that slavery could be excluded from any of the territories, and later, to force concessions favorable to them in the organization of the territory so re- cently acquired from Mexico. After a long and determined opposition on the part of the pro-slavery element in stubborn allegiance to its sacred institution, the Oregon Territorial bill became a law on August 14th, 1848. From that hour there was a decided change in the political situation in Oregon. The viewpoint was shifted; the view enlarged. The old lines of division began to fade. It is true some of the local jealousies remained and were for a time to continue to be factors in politics, but the focus was different. Oregon was now linked with the United States and with its political life. The very fact of the passage of the territorial bill meant that a party president would appoint party office holders to exercise national super- vision over the new territory. As the old local lines of divi- sion began to disappear, in the new conditions men began to remember their old political affiliations held "back in the States." But though the change in the point of view was decided and was generally felt, and its significance appreciated, it took some time for political action to adapt itself to the new order. There was a period of transition in which the old had not been forgotten and put aside and in which the new had not been fully espoused a period in which political con-