#TBT Historical Clickbait: Why Carrie Nation’s Saloon-smashing Hatchet Rampage is Bad for Women. And Temperance.


December 7, 2014 - Uncategorized

From a July, 1900 issue of the Pasadenoid.

Why we can support Carrie and the temperance movement without supporting her actions

Carrie Nation has inspired millions of temperance supporters by traveling throughout the country and smashing saloons with a hatchet. She’s been cheered as a ‘feminist’ who’s ‘doing the good lord’s work.’ And I do admit that it’s exciting to see a temperance supporter take such a proactive approach to this issue – particularly a female temperance activist. But we can support the movement and still admit saloon-smashing is a bit nutty.

See Upworthy’s report This Woman Is Putting A Hatchet To America’s Debauchery Problem.

First of all, temperance is the right policy for this country. Alcohol is the scourge of good Christian families everywhere. It defiles innocence, dethrones reason, and causes many an otherwise righteous man to cause undue violence to his wife and children or to become prey to a fallen woman in the most depraved sections of our cities.

But those of us who are fighting alcohol are doing so because it’s the scourge of lawfulness. And that means that temperance supporters have to take an extra strong stand against unlawful tactics like saloon-smashing. We have a standard to keep. And just because saloonkeepers are serving poison that causes men to fall into the bottomless pit of illegality doesn’t mean that temperance activists wouldn’t be wrong to betray their own values of a decent Protestant upbringing.

Moreover, we should be worried that Carrie has fallen to madness. Of course, political activism has always had an element of theatricality. But, without having a doctor examine the size of Carrie’s cranium, it’s impossible to know whether Carrie is afflicted by the lunacy that affects so many spinster women.

So, ladies, let’s admit a few things. Carrie’s awesome. But she might be sick and that’s not something to treat lightly. And, anyway, saloon-smashing isn’t the answer.


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