Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/80

This page needs to be proofread.

W. C. WOODWARD The result of the election was as memorable as the campaign which preceded it. The Democratic victory was literally over- whelming. The Oregonian for once admitted complete defeat without pleading any compensations: "The election has as- tonished everybody, the Democrats as well as the Whigs. . . . It is now a fixed fact the people of Oregon are willing to be gulled by that talismanic word, 'Democracy' "- 1 Lane's ma- jority was 2149. Gaines carried but three counties in the Ter- ritory and those by a combined majority of only 79. The politi- cal complexion of the legislature was: house, Democrats 28; Whig-K. N., 2 ; council, Democrats 7, Whig-K. N., 2, one of whom was a hold over. 2 Bush was so intoxicated with success that immediately following the election a long editorial leader appeared in the Statesman championing Gen. Joseph Lane for the presidency of the United States in 1856. 3 In commenting on the result Dryer found the real crux of the situation when he said that the so-called Democratic party was well organized and thoroughly drilled, while the Whigs were unorganized and never permitted drilling officers to gov- ern or control them on any occasion. 4 Here is the secret of the stability of the Democratic regime in the Territorial period. Hundreds of Whigs rebelled at the attempt to force them into alliance with the Know Nothings, and either remained away from the polls or voted for Lane. The Oregonian suggested that the Whigs did not understand the true principles of the American party, but added that whether the object of that organization be justifiable or not, those principles had been prostrated, and to the advantage of Lane and the Democrats. 'The time has come and now," declared Dryer, "for the Whigs in Oregon as a party, to plant themselves upon the great na- tional Whig platform ; to boldly, without deviating one jot or tittle from the true path, battle for Whig principles and doc- trines." It is significant that before the election the opposition i Oregonian, June 16. 2Statesman, June 16. ^Ibid., June 9. 4.Oregonian, June 23.