Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/49

This page needs to be proofread.


POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 41 favor during the remainder of the campaign. The Milwaukie Star, Democratic, was more outspoken. It could not for a moment give countenance to Willson's candidacy against a brother Democrat, which would stir up strife in the party. While pleading for party unity, the Star at the same time naively asks the Whigs to support Lane. It urges that in so doing they will lose no political strength as the delegate has no vote in Congress ; that both Whigs and Democrats will be equal participators in every measure he brings about for Ore- gon's advancement. 1 Lane himself, both publicly and private- ly, took a non-partisan stand which was inclined to disarm any partisan opposition. 2 Both candidates were Democrats but neither ran as such. 3 The four newspapers the Oregonian and Spectator, 4 Whig, and the Statesman and Star, Demo- cratic were committed more or less actively to Lane, 5 who was elected by a vote of 1,911 to 426. In the Statesman of June 13th, immediately after the elec- tion, appeared a call for a democratic convention to be held July 4th at Salem for the purpose of effecting a permanent organization of the party in Marion county. Bush heartily endorsed the movement editorially and expressed his satisfac- tion in the fact that it was general throughout the Territory. By this time the question of party organization had become a definite issue. The Democrats, clearly in the majority and smarting under the dominance of Whig officials, took a strong position in the affirmative. The Marion county convention above mentioned passed strong resolutions on the subject. Those resolutions maintained that political parties are insep- arable from a free government; that the only natural division of parties in this country is that which has existed since the contest between Jefferson and Adams, under the names of i Star, May 22, 1851. 2Personal Correspondence, Lane to J. W. Nesmi'th, May 27, 1851. 3Statesman, June 23, 1857, in retrospect. 4Vhile the Spectator did not become a distinctively partisan paper until early in 1852, it was Whig in attitude. sStar, May 22, 1851.