Oregon’s State Constitution was drafted though convention and presented to the all-white and male voters in Oregon Territory for consideration. This section presents the slavery question (should Oregon be a slave state or a free state) and the Exclusion Laws, which prohibited black people from residing in Oregon. Voters approved the Exclusion Laws and decided Oregon would become a slavery-free state (with some exceptions). The outcome reflected the desire of new settlers to create a white utopian state of free labor and to avoid completely alienating either side of the slavery debate when the question of statehood came before Congress. The effects of that vote are apparent today, although the legal relevance of exclusion and slavery was made moot by the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments.
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September 18, 1857
- OrHi50382 Belknap 295