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Wednesday, November 25, 1846   Carrie A. Nation

Carrie A. Nation was born in Garrard County, Kentucky. In an era when the average height of a man was less than 5 foot 7, the six-foot tall Nation was not a woman to be ignored.

A survivor of an alcoholic husband, Nation funneled her righteous indignation into a popular movement, one of the first in America that specifically mobilized women. With a bible in one hand and an axe in the other, her band of angry matrons demolished saloons and threatened tavern owners in and around her adopted state of Kansas. Her efforts not only led to stricter enforcement of the Temperance laws in that state, but her headline grabbing "Hatchetations" publicized the movement worldwide.

She should be described as a proto-feminist. At a time when women were expected to be quiet and subservient, Nation loudly attacked and disregarded these cultural restrictions. She refused to wear a corset and encouraged others not to either. She rejected the idea of sacrificing one's health in furtherance of the Victorian ideal of beauty.  Even her approach towards temperance was a feminist take. She saw alcohol as destructive to the family, which in 1890 was the whole of woman's domain.

In 1901 she established what is essentially the first battered women's shelter in Kansas City Missouri. Carrie A. Nation was arrested more than 32 times during her life. She moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 1909, a town noted for its pure water. On January 13th, 1911 Nation collapsed in her home and she was taken to the Evergreen Palace Sanitorium in Leavenworth, Kansas. With increasing awareness that her life as a crusader was over she reportedly lamented "I have done what I could." She died in the sanitorium on the 9th of June, 1911. She was 64 years of age.

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Carry A. Nation

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