62 W. C. WOODWARD exulted in the fact that no Maine Law candidate had been elected to the legislature and only eight Whigs. 1 The opposi- tion was sufficient to impress the Durhamites with the neces- sity of forgetting past factions and differences among them- selves and of making common cause against presumptuous opponents. 2 The sky had not yet cleared after the stress of the June election when another cloud loomed big on the political hor- izon. It was the precursor of such a sudden, violent storm in Oregon politics as has not been seen before nor since. It broke with the violence of a hurricane, spent its fury and died away almost as quickly as it had come. It was the appearance in the Territory of the Know Nothing movement, which had ap- peared in the East in 1852, under the name of the American party. It was the reappearance on a larger scale, in Ameri- can politics, of the attempts which had been made in eastern cities in 1835 and in 1843 to establish a "Native Amer- ican" party. It took the form of a secret, oath-bound organ- ization and avowed hostility to the political influence of for- eigners in our government. Its design was to oppose the easy naturalization laws and demanded the selection of none but natives for office. 3 There were no peculiar conditions in Ore- gon sufficient to explain the furor raised by the introduction of the new issue. It has been suggested by Bancroft that it was largely an expression of the old antipathies toward the foreign element in the settlement of Oregon. 4 But these were rapidly passing away in the violence of national party strife. A study of the contemporary press does not suggest such po- tent local anti-foreign sentiment. The real explanation will become obvious in the story of the bitter struggle. As early as 1852 Bush had attacked Native Americanism as but another exhibition of the spirit of the old Alien and Sedition laws. 5 But the issue was not joined until 1854 when ilbid., June 13 and June 27, 1854. 2Statesman, June 20, 1854 editorial on "Democratic Union." 3johnston, "American Politics," p. 169. 4Bancroft, "History of Oregon," Vol. II., pp. 357, 358. sStatesman, March 30, 1852.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/70
This page needs to be proofread.