Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/64

This page needs to be proofread.


CHAPTER IV THE PERIOD OF ANTI-DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION In the decisive Democratic victory of 1853 the Whigs finally read their lesson. They realized that party organization was inevitable. The Oregonian, with all the force of Dryer's vit- riolic pen, attacked partyism right up to the end of the cam- paign. In the very next issue following the election, the versa- tile editor championed the cause of Whig organization and outlined a radical party platform. 1 He declared that the Dur- ham Democrats had succeeded in duping the masses with the shibboleth of "Democracy," forcing those who were honest in their political opinions to take issue with them. "Therefore it becomes us, however much we may doubt that the good of the whole people demands a partisan course, under present circumstances to throw to the breeze the Whig banner." Here was the conception of the Oregon Whig party, "born as one out of due season." It was a posthumous child and was never to arrive at healthy maturity. 2 The platform outlined by the Oregonian was clear-cut and comprehensive. As regards local conditions, it announced un- compromising opposition to the consolidation of power in the hands of a few political office hunters. It declared for legis- lation for the benefit of the people rather than of faction; for strict accountability of public officers ; free lands for bona fide settlers ; free speech and a free press, unawed by the threats of party demagogues ; a system of naturalization by which every foreigner should be placed upon an equal footing with those in the Atlantic States. Nationally, the planks of the tentative platform were: A safe, speedy and economical sys- lOregonian, June 18, 1853. 2"The Sewer man (Dryer) is in favor of organizing the Wliig party. Greeley of the New York Tribune says that the Whig party is dead in the states. But, like all animals of the reptile order, it dies in the extremities last; and him of the Sewer (the Oregonian) is the last agonizing knot of the tail." Statesman, July 4r 1853-