Carry Nation

Three Things to Know About Radical Prohibitionist Carry A. Nation ...
Carry Nation

Carry Nation, sometimes spelled Carrie Nation (1846-1911) was a radical member of the Temperance movement. She married a man who turned out to be an alcoholic. After he died from alcoholism, she married an older man, a widower. 

She was apparently a good businesswoman, managing hotels in Kansas and elsewhere. Her husband became a preacher, and Nation became known for her charitable works. She was stridently opposed to tobacco and alcohol, blaming alcohol for crime and breaking up families. 

Around 1900, she became convinced that God called her to close down businesses that served alcohol. She started in Kiowa, Kansas by throwing rocks at a bar, and then acquired her famous hatchet. 

She went in to taverns and other drinking establishments with her hatchet and tried her best to wreck the places. She would hack away at wooden bars, break glass, overturn tables. She was a large, strong woman, quite capable of doing substantial damage, although her purpose was publicity for the Temperance movement. 

She generated plenty of public attention for the Temperance movement. The object of the Temperance movement was the make the sales, possession and consumption of alcohol illegal. She and her hatchet became nationally famous. Nation was jailed, and repeatedly roughed up but refused to be intimidated. 

Her violent period was roughly 1900-1903. After that, she was popular on the Temperance lecture circuit, selling miniature replicas of her famed hatchet. Her activity helped create the momentum that resulted in Prohibition era.

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