On this day, June 24, 2015, as historian to the Abolitionist Families of Benton and Fremont, I declare the name of our County should be named after Harry Lane, the son of the Confederate, Joseph Lane. For the reason Joseph engaged in terrorism and slavery, and for the reason we are at war with ISIS who takes people as slaves, and for the reason the Confederate flag in South Carolina – must come down – let it be known, the sins of the father did not come down to Harry, who is a hidden treasure of liberalism and fair play for all. There not be any need for a name-change that would be very costly. Harry was a frugal politician who worked for the right for women to vote – and the Rose Festival of Portland.
For the last hour I searched google for a famous Lane in Oregon history, and had almost given up, when by divine providence, there before me is ‘The Man that Time Forgot’
Harry! This is your day! I will be petitioning all the elected officials of Oregon, to have your political history, be the outstanding history. So help me God!
Lane challenged white supremacist Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia on the floor of the Senate to acknowledge the successes of black farmers in the American South and protested instances of racial discrimination inserted into appropriations legislation.
It is obvious Harry was the opposite of his father, whom Lane County was named after. Let us carry on Harrry’s opposition to what is hateful and destructive.
President: Royal Rosamond Press
As mayor, Lane was an enthusiastic host for a 1905 national convention in support of woman suffrage in 1905, and he was thereafter recognized as a friend of the movement for equality between the sexes. He took a further step for the advance of women’s rights when he swore in Lola Baldwin to the Portland Police Bureau as one of the first female police officers in the United States on April 1, 1908.
While mayor, at the end of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, he advocated for a “permanent rose carnival”, leading him to be called the “Father of the Portland Rose Festival“, which continues today.
Lane was an advocate of direct democracy and led an unsuccessful voter referendum to establish municipal ownership of the Portland electric system. A flurry of measures were taken before the voters — 32 proposals in 1909 alone. Among his successes at the polls in these direct votes, Lane was instrumental in winning approval of a new mandate that future utility franchises granted by the city should be subject to popular vote rather than back-room dealmaking between interested parties and elected politicians.
Throughout his life Lane was committed to exposing and correcting the wrongs suffered by Native Americans at the hands of European immigrants to America. At a 1905 unveiling of a statue of Sacajawea Mayor Lane declared that violence between native and white populations had always been the result of “white people ill-treating the Indians who had befriended them.”
Intent on proving himself a man of the people, Harry Lane set what might be a record for campaign frugality in his victorious effort, with his entire race run for the princely sum of $75 plus travel expenses.
He was also known for frugality as a congressman, and did not conform to the modern stereotype of the free-spending liberal. He was reported as being “the most inquisitive man in Congress” when it came to federal appropriations, and was known as “the human question mark” by his colleagues in the Senate. He was opposed to deficits and the “pure waste of public funds.”
Lane’s daughter was herself a member of the Socialist Party of America, as was her husband, the journalist Isaac McBride. Upon his election the increasingly radical Harry Lane wasted no time in hiring his son-in-law as his personal secretary and administrative assistant. McBride remained active in the anti-militarism activities of the Socialist Party even while working for Lane and was the intermediary between “Big Bill” Haywood of the Industrial Workers of the World and Lane, gaining the Senator’s help in an unsuccessful effort to spare the life of IWW cause célèbre Joe Hill.
While in Congress he served on the Committee on Forest Reservations and Game Protection, the Committee on Fisheries, and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Lane regarded the last of these as his most important work, criticizing longstanding government policy aimed at “civilizing” the Native American population.
Lane pulled no punches:
“I think the whole scheme of our management of the affairs of the Indian is a mistake. It is wrong; it is expensive to the Government; it is fatal to the Indians.”
The poverty of the Indian population was through no fault of their own, Lane declared, with the Native American people prostrate while “the white man is astride them and is at work taking everything they have.”
In addition to his distinctly radical views on Indian Affairs, Lane championed a number of other controversial views as a member of the Senate. He was a leading advocate for the woman suffrage movement, introducing resolutions in its behalf. Lane also supported government ownership of the national telephone and telegraph networks, the merchant marine, and certain mining corporations. He was critical of the Clayton Antitrust Act for its toothless inability to restrain the avarice of “big business and crooks.”
Lane challenged white supremacist Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia on the floor of the Senate to acknowledge the successes of black farmers in the American South and protested instances of racial discrimination inserted into appropriations legislation. He was skeptical about American claims of violation of property rights by the government and insurgent movements in Mexico and was an outspoken opponent of imperialism and for the national independence of the Philippines.
In was with respect to American involvement in World War I that Lane was his most outspoken. Late in 1915 Lane joined Socialist Meyer London in co-sponsoring a resolution criticizing the deepening sense of war-related fear and calling upon Woodrow Wilson to convene a conference of neutral nations with a view to ending the European conflict. Even after the resumption of unlimited German submarine warfare in their effort to blockade their enemies, Lane refused to support an end to diplomatic relations with the German empire. Lane was an outspoken opponent of Wilson’s plan to arm merchant ships, arguing that the conservative Democratic President was thereby attempting to usurp the Congressional prerogative to declare war and to replace it with Executive authority.
Joseph “Joe” Lane (December 14, 1801 – April 19, 1881) was an American politician and soldier. He was a state legislator representing Evansville, Indiana, and then served in the Mexican–American War, becoming a general. President James K. Polk appointed Lane as the first Governor of Oregon Territory. When Oregon was admitted as a state in 1859, Lane was elected one of Oregon’s first two U.S. Senators.
In 1860, Lane was nominated for Vice President of the pro-slavery Southern wing of the Democratic Party, as John C. Breckinridge‘s running mate. Lane’s pro-slavery views and sympathy for the Confederate States of America in the Civil War effectively ended his political career in Oregon.
A son was later elected U.S. Representative and a grandson U.S. Senator, making Lane the patriarch of one of the state’s most prominent political families
In 1853, after he was re-elected as Delegate in 1853, but before he left for Washington, D.C., Lane was appointed as brigadier general commanding a force of volunteers raised to suppress recent Native American violence. Lane led the force to southern Oregon to stop Native American attacks against settlers and miners there. Lane was again wounded in a skirmish at Table Rock, in Sams Valley, not far from today’s cities of Medford and Central Point.
In 1860, the Democratic Party split on the issue of slavery. Pro-slavery Democrats from the South left the national convention and nominated their own candidates: John C. Breckinridge for President, and Lane for Vice President.
This “Southern Democrat” ticket was defeated. With his defeat as Vice President and the beginning of the Civil War, Lane’s political career ended. His pro-slavery views had been controversial in Oregon; his pro-secessionist views were wholly unacceptable. Lane became notorious for an exchange with Andrew Johnson of Tennessee on his last day in the Senate. Johnson had spoken in favor of the Union and denounced secession. A referendum on secession in Tennessee failed shortly thereafter, generally credited to Johnson’s speech. On March 2, Lane accused Johnson of having “sold his birthright” as a Southerner. Johnson responded by suggesting that Lane was a hypocrite for so accusing Johnson when Lane so staunchly supported a movement of active treason against the United States.