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63 Or. L. Rev. 561 (1984)
Matthew Deady and the Federal Judicial Response to Racism in the Early West

handle is hein.journals/orglr63 and id is 571 raw text is: RALPH JAMES MOONEY*

Matthew Deady and the Federal
Judicial Response to Racism in the
Early Westt
An evil spirit is abroad in this land-not only here,
but everywhere. It tramples down the law of the coun-
try and fosters riot and anarchy. . . . Lately, this
spirit has been manifesting itself in Oregon, by assault-
ing, robbing and driving out Chinese who are engaged
among us at lawful labor for an honest living ...
There is no doubt but that this brutal and inhuman
conduct is a gross violation of the rights guaranteed to
these people by the national government. .. .
-Deady to a federal grand jury, March 18861
A persistent theme of American history has been the effort of
white majorities to exclude or persecute other races. Every
generation, in every region, has engaged in practices against minori-
ties ranging from racist immigration policies to economic and cul-
tural discrimination to the most extreme forms of personal violence.
Even in nineteenth-century Oregon, settled largely by antislavery
whites, with very small non-Indian minority populations until
nearly 1880, an early and frequent concern was to exclude as many
nonwhites as possible from the area and to deprive those who did
remain of any meaningful participation in community life. Directed
initially against blacks, then later and more violently against Chi-
nese, such widespread racist behavior was a major contributor to
the fabric of early Oregon life.
The relation of the American legal system to this theme is both
important and complex. Although we have only begun an adequate
Copyright © Ralph James Mooney (1985).
* Associate Professor of Law, University of Oregon. A.B., Harvard, 1965; J.D., Uni-
versity of Michigan, 1968. The author thanks Steven Black, Helen Rives-Hendricks,
and David Wilson for their special contributions.
I See infra note 187 and accompanying text.


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