Updated:
Original:
Year
1900
Month Day
December 27

Carry Nation smashes bar

Prohibitionist Carry Nation smashes up the bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas, causing several thousand dollars in damage and landing in jail. Nation, who was released shortly after the incident, became famous for carrying a hatchet and wrecking saloons as part of her anti-alcohol crusade.

Carry Amelia Moore was born in Kentucky in 1846. As a young woman, she married Charles Gloyd, whose hard-drinking soon killed him and left Nation alone to support their young child. The experience instilled in Nation a lifelong distaste for alcohol. She later married David Nation, who worked as a preacher and lawyer, and they eventually settled in Kansas. There, she was involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The WCTU was founded in 1874 by women “concerned about the problems alcohol was causing their families and society.” At the time, women lacked many of the same rights as men and their lives could be ruined if their husbands drank too much. In addition to alcohol prohibition, over the years the WCTU lobbied for a long list of social reforms, including women’s suffrage and the fight against tobacco and other drugs.

In 1880, Kansas became the first state to adopt a constitutional provision banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol. However, prohibition was enforced unevenly and with many saloon owners ignoring the ban completely, Nation came to believe she needed to abandon the nonviolent methods of the WCTU in order to make an impact. After the incident at the Carey Hotel, her fame increased as she continued her saloon-smashing campaign in other locations and traveled extensively to speak out in favor of temperance. She sold souvenir hatchets to help fund her activities and used the name Carry A. Nation. Some people viewed her as crusader, while others saw her as a crank.

Nation died in 1911, never living to see nationwide prohibition in America, which was established with the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and went into effect on January 16, 1920. Prohibition, considered a failure, was repealed on December 5, 1933, by the 21st Amendment.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

HMS Beagle departs England

British naturalist Charles Darwin sets out from Plymouth, England, aboard the HMS Beagle on a five-year surveying expedition of the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Visiting such diverse places as the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, Darwin acquired an intimate knowledge ...read more

Apollo 8 returns to Earth

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, returns safely to Earth after an historic six-day journey. On December 21, Apollo 8 was launched by a three-stage Saturn 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr., and William Anders ...read more

FDR seizes control of Montgomery Ward

On this day in 1944, as World War II dragged on, President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders his secretary of war to seize properties belonging to the Montgomery Ward company because the company refused to comply with a labor agreement. In an effort to avert strikes in critical ...read more

Soviets take over in Afghanistan

In an attempt to stabilize the turbulent political situation in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union sends 75,000 troops to enforce the installation of Babrak Karmal as the new leader of the nation. The new government and the imposing Soviet presence, however, had little success in ...read more