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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/84

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76 W. C. WOODWARD argued cautiously against statehood. By the end of the year the question bore a very different aspect from a Democratic viewpoint. Hence the legislature which met in December, three days after the arrival of Governor Davis, passed an act calling for a vote, at the forthcoming elec- tion, on the question of holding a constitutional convention. The cause of statehood was zealously espoused by Bush in the Statesman in the campaign of 1854. On the other hand the Oregonian as earnestly opposed it on financial grounds, and accused the Democrats of favoring a state government as a means of securing more offices. 1 The issue was lost by a majority of 869. 2 But before the result was known, Bush announced that if the question had failed he would hoist the flag "For a con- vention in 1855". "And we give the Whigs notice that we shall support this issue as a party measure." 3 Accordingly, a party issue it became. The next legislature had the presumption to pass a joint resolution calling for the appointment of a joint committee to draw up a state constitution. 4 But it receded from this radical position and passed an act like that of the previous year providing for a vote on the question of a constitutional convention. The Democratic Territorial Convention held in the following April, 1855, passed a strong resolution declaring that Oregon should assume the position of a sovereign state. A comparison of the vote on the question for the two years shows that Bush was largely successful in making statehood a Democratic issue. As a rule it was the heavily Democratic counties that gave the strongest support to a constitutional con- vention. The Whigs as a whole strongly opposed it, though one of their leaders, David Logan, supported the affirmative side of the question. This time, the majority in the negative was 413. i Oregonian, April i, April 15, 1854. 2Statesman, July n, 1854. 3lbid., June 20, 1854. 4Oregonian, January 20, 1855.