ABOUT THIS BOOK
During the decade of the 1850s, the Oregon Territory progressed toward statehood in an atmosphere of intense political passion and conflict. Editors of rival newspapers blamed a group of young men whom they named the “Salem Clique,” along with the Oregon Statesman newspaper that they controlled, for the bitter party struggles of the time. They accused the so-called Clique of dictatorship and corruption. They charged it with the intention of imposing slavery on the Territory. The Clique, they maintained, even conspired to establish a government separate from the United States, conceivably a “bigamous Mormon republic.”
While not in agreement with some of the more extreme contemporary accusations against the Clique, many historians have concluded that its members were vicious men who were able, because of their command of the Democratic party, to impose their hegemony on the Oregon Territory’s inhabitants. Other scholars have seen them as merely another instance of the contentious politics of the period.
Although the Salem Clique has been given considerable prominence in nearly every account of Oregon’s Territorial period, there has not been a detailed study of its role until now. What sort of people were these men? What was their impact on the issues, events, and movements of the period? What role did they play in the years after Oregon became a state? In The Salem Clique, Historian Barbara Mahoney sets out to answer these and many other questions in this comprehensive and deeply researched history.