Oregon quarterly northwest perspectives essay contest

Her work appears in over literary venues, both print and online, and several anthologies by different presses. He is working on his first poetry collection, Multiverse. He has published Labulabu Mask, a novel Macmillan Nigeria. His work is shortly to be published in Relief Anthology.

Oregon quarterly northwest perspectives essay contest

Washington Territory was just under eight years old and more than a quarter century away from statehood. The most populous town in the territory was Walla Walla, with people, including 17 Indians and one African American. This count excluded most Indians.

Others volunteered or were conscripted for the newly mustered First Washington Volunteer Infantry, which never saw battle. Many in the territory were ambivalent on the issue of slavery, but strongly in favor of preserving the union.

Although not one shot was fired in anger in Washington Territory due to the war, nor any property destroyed, the people of the Northwest, in common with the rest of the nation, were deeply affected by the outcome of this most lethal of American conflicts.

More than 60 years later, the Organic Act of extended that prohibition to Oregon Territory, which then included all of what would much later become Washington state. But the ban on slavery did not mean that the territories were free of racism -- both as a Territory and as a State, Oregon sought to bar free blacks from residing within its borders.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, former slaves and free black men and women seeking new lives in the Northwest had little choice but to settle north of Oregon. This they did, albeit in small numbers -- the federal census counted only 30 African Americans living in Washington Territory, 26 men and just four women.

In the U. Supreme Court, in the infamous Dred Scott Oregon quarterly northwest perspectives essay contest, ruled that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the territories. There was little if any public support for allowing slavery in the territory, despite the fact that a significant number of those settling the area had come from the slaveholding states.

Shortly before the Civil War began, there was known to be one slave in the territory and reports of a second. The latter was a woman, rumored to reside with her "owner" at Fort Steilacoom; little information about her has survived.

But the existence of the other, a young man named Charles Mitchell, is well documented. His mother, personal servant to a child of the Gibson family that owned the plantation, died of cholera in Yet, with apparently just the two exceptions, slaves were not kept in Washington. Inwhen Mitchell was induced to stow away on a vessel heading for the Crown Colony of Victoria on Vancouver Island, the question of his status -- property or free person -- suddenly became a very public issue.

Victoria had a large black community inestimated by some to be as high as 25 percent of the population. A black man visiting Olympia from Victoria noticed Mitchell and over the course of several conversations convinced him to flee to Canada, where, he was told, he would be without question free.

He was hidden in the pantry of the mail steamer Eliza Anderson, but was discovered there and held under lock and key until the vessel docked in Victoria. Both James Tilton and Captain Fleming filed protests with the colonial government, to no avail.

In the view of Canadian authorities, Canada was slave-free, Mitchell was in Canada, and that was that. Appeals by Tilton to the government in Washington D. The nature of the relationship between Mitchell and Tilton was ambiguous, as historian Lorraine McConaghy has described: In the last analysis, Charles Mitchell was owned and was not free to come and go as he pleased -- severed from his family, a black child in a white household" "Charles Mitchell, Slavery, and Washington Territory in ".

The territorial press coverage of the Mitchell case shows that Washington Territory, although virtually free of slaves, was not free of a racist and paternalistic attitude towards African Americans.

Oregon quarterly northwest perspectives essay contest

The sitting president, James Buchananwas a pro-slavery Democrat, but his party had split into two factions on the issue. One believed slavery should be decided by a vote of the people of the individual territories, and it nominated Stephen A. Douglas for president in Breckinridgebelieved that the federal government should protect the right of slaveholders to settle in the territories.

Breckinridge was selected to carry its banner in the presidential race. The Whig Party, once the main opposition to the Democrats, had been torn apart in the s by internal disputes over slavery. Its remnants, together with former members of the also-defunct Know Nothing Party, formed the Constitutional Union Party to contend in the election.

Its platform, if such it could be called, promised to ensure the preservation of the union by simply ignoring the slavery issue. John Bella former Whig from Tennessee, was its nominee for president.

The Republican Party, the fourth to enter the race, was just six years old and had first contended for the presidency in the election, without success.

American frontier - Wikipedia

The party was founded on opposition to the spread of slavery into the territories, but not its complete abolition. In one of the most fateful moves in American political history, it nominated Abraham Lincoln as its candidate.

With four men in the race, Lincoln won the election with just Lincoln had neither threatened nor promised to end slavery, but he was firmly opposed to its further expansion. This alone was enough to tear the union apart. South Carolina was the first state to secede, in December When the dust settled, there were 23 states left in the original United States and 11 in the new Confederate States of America.JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.

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