POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 73 county nominating conventions were with four exceptions 1 denominated as Whig. In giving the returns, however, the tickets were headed "American" with the evident desire to shift the burden of defeat from the Whigs to the Know Nothings. As regards the action of the rank and file of Democracy the Oregonian stated the fact to be on record that scarcely without an exception, every member of the American party who had formerly acted with the Democrats, voted the Democratic ticket. Thus did the Viva Voce law accomplish its perfect work. In the face of the abuse and vilification heaped upon the Know Nothing movement it took more stamina and moral courage, than can now be well imagined, for a Democrat publicly to de- clare himself as one of the proscribed "minions". To do so meant political, if not social outlawry. For Bush never forgot and never forgave. In reviewing the situation in after years, 2 he said that against this secret, oath-bound association, the Viva Voce law interposed a powerful and effective barrier ; that while the adjoining state of California, with a political senti- ment as strongly Democratic as that of Oregon, was overrun by this prescriptive order, in Oregon it totally failed, unable to endure the broad light of day into which it was forced by the viva voce method of voting. Within the two years ending with the election of 1855, we have found attempts made along three different lines to or- ganize the opposition to Oregon Democracy. The Whigs had made a fair showing in the election of 1854 but were now thoroughly demoralized through their fusion with the Know Nothings. The latter had promised to sweep the Territory but within a few short months had been utterly routed and over- thrown. The prohibitionists were cheerfully leading a forlorn hope. The Democrats, more strongly intrenched than ever, held the field undisputed. They were to continue to do so until the old issues were swallowed up in a new one, vital and all in- clusive. i The "Republican" ticket of Multnomah; the "Republican Reform" of Marion; the "American" of Washington and the "Temperance League" ticket of Clatsop. aStatesman, July 10, 1860.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/81
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