Monday, March 30, 2020


The Salem Clique: Oregon’s “Machine”

Hotel Oregon - Mattie's Room

5:30 pm doors, 6:30 pm program

Free. First come, first served. Arrive early!

All ages welcome

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Qualifies for “Attend a McMenamins History-Sponsored Event” Experience Stamp.

Why not stay the night? Receive 15% off your hotel room that evening using the code HISTPUB or mention it when you call the hotel.

About The Salem Clique: Oregon’s “Machine”

The Salem Clique: Oregon’s “Machine”

Presented by Barbara Mahoney, Author

Join us for an exploration of 1850’s politics, as the Territory moved toward statehood, and the part played by a group of young men known as the “Salem Clique.” All recent arrivals to the Territory, they established and controlled the Democratic Party. Rivals and critics accused them of dictatorship and corruption, of seeking to force slavery on the Territory, and even of plotting to create a “bigamous Mormon republic.”  

An important source of the Clique’s power was the Oregon Statesman, the newspaper founded by the Clique’s leader, Asahel Bush.  In a time when newspapers dominated the public sphere, the Statesman and its rival, the Oregonian, not only reported but also shaped the politics of the period.

The Clique held key positions in Oregon’s constitutional convention in 1857 and were elected to important offices when statehood was finally accomplished.  When the Civil War came, they were adamant in their support of the Union.

About the Speaker:

Originally, from Indiana, Barbara moved to Oregon with her husband Tim, who is a physician, and their four children.   After a few years as an adjunct faculty member at Willamette University, she moved to the administration, first as Director of Alumni Relations and then as Vice President for University Relations.

She has served on the boards of several organizations including Oregon Humanities, the Oregon Encyclopedia, Portland Center Stage and the Library Foundation and as chairperson of the Oregon Arts Commission.

Although her doctorate from Saint Louis University is in twentieth century European history, the history of Oregon has become a consuming interest.  She has contributed a number of entries to the Oregon Encyclopedia.

Her first book, Dispatches and Dictators, is a biography of Oregon native Ralph Barnes who was a correspondent in Europe for the New York Herald Tribune during the 1930’s.  Dispatches and Dictators won the Oregon Book Award for Literary Nonfiction in 2003.

Her article, “Oregon Democracy: Asahel Bush, Slavery, and the Statehood Debate,” appeared in the summer 2009 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Her second book, The Salem Clique: Oregon’s Founding Brothers, is a study of the group of young men who dominated Oregon politics during the 1850s.

About Hotel Oregon History Pub

Hotel Oregon History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp