Page:Political Censorship in the Oregon Spectator.djvu/6

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expressed opposition to Democratic candidates.[1] Early in 1852, the Spectator became a distinctively political journal publicly behind the Whig Party.[2] For the next three years, it supported all Whig candidates "with our pen and vote."[3]

The Spectator's late entrance into the political arena was one cause for its demise on March 10, 1855.[4] It had lost the public printing contract to the Democratic Oregon Statesman. And the Portland Weekly Oregonian, begun in 1850, quickly had become regional spokesman for the Whig Party.

The turbulent life of the Spectator resulted, in large measure, from the effort to publish a nonpartisan newspaper for pioneers who voiced strong political convictions. The American settler was the heir of generations whose shibboleth of freedom firmly embraced public exchange of ideas in the press. The very beginnings of government in the Far West were made in Oregon, yet the divergent opinions about this critical development found no outlet in the only newspaper issued for much of the period from 1846 to 1850.

In the decade after 1850, newspapers founded in the Pacific Northwest were dedicated to political causes. The "Oregon Style" of journalism, characterized by vituperative editorial feuds, soon emerged from the keen rivalries that existed.

Two headlines in the final Spectator symbolized the newspaper's paradoxical career: One, saying that the publication would not reappear, read, "Adieu!! Adieu!!"; the other said, "Oregon To Be A State."[5]

  1. Oregon City Oregon Statesman, July 15, 1851, 2:2.
  2. "We shall, therefore, in the future conduct of the Spectator, firmly and zealously maintain those principles of public policy which are held by the great Whig party of the United States." Oregon Spectator, Feb. 3, 1852, 2:1.
  3. Ibid., May 26, 1854, 2:1.
  4. The final editor, C. L. Goodrich, replaced Schnebly on March 4, 1854.
  5. Oregon Spectator, March 10, 1855, 2:1; 2:4.