US 783 Oregon Territory Postage Stamp

USA 1936 3-cent Oregon Territory Centennial Postage Stamp, MNH

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Issued on July 14, 1936, this violet 3-cent stamp marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Oregon Territory. The stamp depicts a map of the Territory, flanked by a Native American scene on the left and a covered wagon train on the right.

Although President Polk immediately urged the formation of a territorial government for Oregon, the bill introduced for this purpose was held up in the Senate on account of the opposition of Southern leaders, who were seeking to maintain the abstract principle that slavery could not be constitutionally prohibited in any territory of the United States, although they had no hope of Oregon ever becoming slave territory. Indian outbreaks, however, which began in 1847, compelled Congress to take measures for the defense of the inhabitants, and on the 14th of August 1848 a bill was enacted providing a territorial government. As then constituted, the Territory embraced the whole area to which the title of the United States had been confirmed by the treaty of 1846, and included the present states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and parts of Wyoming and Montana. Its area was reduced in 1853 by the creation of the Territory of Washington. The discovery of gold in California drew many Oregon settlers to that country in 1848–1850, but this exodus was soon offset as a result of the enactment by Congress in 1850 of the “land donation law,” by which settlers in Oregon between 1850 and 1853 were entitled to large tracts of land free of cost. The number of claims registered under this act was over eight thousand.