552 History of Wake Forest College
which had a better claim to the presidency, Webster or Clay; who was
in the right Jackson or Calhoun; and should Congress have made an
appropriation to pay the fine imposed on Jackson in the Hull case.
Among the many phases of contemporaneous political and national
interest that were reflected in the debates of the Societies was the
dispute with Great Britain over the Oregon Territory. In the early
forties a slogan often heard in the United States was "Fifty-four-forty
or fight." In April 1840, the Euzelians, discussing the query, "Would
it be better to give up the disputed territory or appeal to arms?"
decided by a vote of 20 to 2 that it was better to fight. Two years later
they had the question again before them in the form, "Would the
United States be justifiable in declaring war against Great Britain?"
which after "being ably and eloquently discussed by Messrs. Lamb
and Prichard on the affirmative and Foy and West on the negative,
was decided in the negative."
Another matter of national interest was the Mormons. In 1854-55 in
both Societies different phases of the question were discussed-their
right to hold office, their expulsion from the United States.
Another subject that was tending to become sectional was the
admission of Texas and the Mexican War. Within two years after
Texas won her freedom the Philomathesians debated the question,
"Would it be policy in the United States to receive Texas into the
Union?" which after being supported by Messrs. Connella and J. M.
Brewer and opposed by Messrs. Worrell and Murray, was decided in
the affirmative. The question was several times repeated before one or
another of the Societies until annexation had been consummated.42
That the question was not altogether free from sectional interest may
be seen from the form it took in March, 1839, when debated first by
the Euzelians. It read: "Should the North resist the annexation of
Texas to the Union, would the South be justifiable in seceding?"
which, however, was decided in the negative. Six months after Texas
42 Eu. Records, September 16, 1839; April 23, 1842; February 17, 1844.