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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/45

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 37 he pursued in Congress was consistent with this local plat- form on which he had been chosen as delegate. Serving at a time when the sectional spirit was so dominant at Washing- ton, he found the Pacific Coast to be "in the angle of cross fires." As a result, in order not to impair his influence, he "shut the book of partisan politics" and turned his attention solely to the material needs of his constituents, securing the passage of the much desired donation land law. 1 If Oregon needed a striking reminder of the fact that hence- forth she was of necessity to experience the exigencies of na- tional political life that her future was inevitably linked with the party fortunes of the nation, such reminder came promptly. Her citizens had hardly accustomed themselves to the new situation when their new officials were replaced by newer ones by the incoming Whig administration. And as if the very fact of such a sudden change were not of itself sufficient, the lesson was emphasized by contributing conditions. With enough of the demagogue in his make-up to render him a typical successful politician of his day, Lane had so addressed himself to the Oregonians and so adapted himself to local conditions as to put himself in thorough accord and harmony with the people. He was popular from the start. The fact that the majority of his constituents were fellow democrats con- tributed to this entente cordiale, but he was generally popular regardless of party distinction. He was a man of the people. His Whig successor, General John P. Gaines, was just the opposite. Pompous and aristocratic in bearing, he was tact- less in action and overzealous in exerting his authority. At best it was somewhat repugnant to these western Americans, used to governing themselves, to be placed under what they considered foreign officials ; under such a man as Gaines it was positively galling. In this situation and in what grew out of it, is to be found the beginning of political parties in Oregon in the national sense. It will hereafter be developed i Circular address issued by Thurston to Oregon voters, from Washington, D. C., Nov. 15, 1850.