Carry Nation Essay

This essay has a total of 769 words and 4 pages.

Carry Nation




As America moved to the cities traditions were changed or altered. These
alterations included women’s interests and their challenge to America’s traditional values.
One such woman was Carry Amelia Moore Nation. The daughter of George and Mary
(Campbell) Moore, was born on November 25, 1846, in Garrard County, Kentucky. A
formidable woman, nearly 6 feet tall and weighing 175 pounds, she dressed in stark black
and white clothing. She was enrolled in Warrensburg Normal Institute and, after
receiving a teaching certificate, taught school in Holden, Missouri, for four years. In 1877
she married David Nation, a lawyer, newspaperman, and sometime minister in the
Christian Church.
The Nations moved to Texas in 1879 and settled on a cotton plantation on the San
Bernard River near Houston. After they failed to make the plantation a success, Carry
supported the family by managing a hotel in Columbia. The eventual sale of the
plantation enabled them to buy a hotel in Richmond, which Carry ran with sporadic
assistance from her husband, who practiced law and corresponded for the Houston Post.
As a child she had undergone a dramatic conversion at a revival meeting, and during her
stay in Texas she had numerous mystic experiences. She came to believe that she had
been elected by God and that she spoke through divine inspiration. After the Methodist
and Episcopal churches barred her from teaching in their Sunday schools, she started her
own weekly class in the hotel. David Nation also became involved in the
Jaybird-Woodpecker War after he denounced the Jaybirds in an article for the Houston
Post. To escape assaults and intimidation, the Nations moved in 1889 to Medicine Lodge,
Kansas, where David became pastor of the Christian Church.
In Kansas, as in Texas, Mrs. Nation was known for her charity to the poor.
Having been a drunkard's wife herself, she was especially moved by drink-related
poverty. But her fanatical views and eccentric behavior made her unpopular, and the
abrasiveness of her exhortations to righteousness provoked the Christian Church to expel
her from membership. In 1892 she joined the Baptist minister's wife in Medicine Lodge
in organizing a local chapter of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was
appointed jail evangelist. In the name of home protection she began a crusade against
alcohol and tobacco that lasted the rest of her life. Alone or accompanied by
hymn-singing women, she would march into a saloon and proceed to sing, pray, hurl
biblical-sounding vituperations, and smash the bar fixtures and stock with a hatchet. In
her book Nation says, “Sometimes a rock; sometimes a hatchet; God told me to use these
to smash that which has smashed and will smash hearts and souls. The sound of this
loving deed will stir conscience and hearts...” This was her reason for taking her hatchet
to a saloon and smashing everything in sight until someone would listen to her. At one
point, her fervor led her to invade the governor's chambers at Topeka. Jailed many times,
she paid her fines from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets, at times earning
as much as $300 per week. She herself survived numerous physical assaults.
Nation challenged various people such as saloonkeepers, alcoholics, casual
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