The Salem Clique: Oregon’s Founding Brothers

Barbara S. Mahoney
$22.95 paperback

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’ for the bitter party struggles of the time. Led by Sahel Bush, editor of the Oregon Statesman, the Salem Clique was accused of dictatorship, corruption, and the intention of imposing slavery on the Territory. The Clique, critics maintained, even conspired to establish a government separate from the United States, conceivably a ‘bigamous Mormon republic.’ 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? Historian Barbara Mahoney sets out to answer these and many other questions in this comprehensive and deeply researched history.