North Carolina passed a referendum on prohibition in 1908, 12 years before it became the law of the land as the 18th Amendment. The previous year, temperance crusader Carrie Nation toured the state warning citizens about the evils of drinking, smoking, even dancing.
She created right much of a sensation in Raleigh, crowds flocked to see her on the streets and to hear her speak. She delivered a speech in the dispensary that drew a large crowd, and condemned the institution in the vilest and strongest terms, and appealed to all present for the sake of all that is good and pure and right to vote it out.
When the Southern train from Greensboro arrived at 12:45 there were several curious spectators watching the car doors to see Mrs. Carrie until there stepped out upon the platform with grips in hand an elderly woman with gray hair, rather low and stout, dressed in a loose and plain two-piece travelling suit of linen crush. ...
“I have just heard some good news,” she said as she opened her grip and pulled there from a morning newspaper. While doing so she was talking, delivering a tirade against tobacco growing, tobacco manufacturing and tobacco using.
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But she proceeded to read ... from a special sent out from Durham and printed Sunday morning concerning the hail storm in Orange county and the destruction of tobacco crops ...
Then she shifted her tirade from the tobacco grower to the tobacco manufacturer, or to be more specific, the American Tobacco Company.
“North Carolina is cursed with a regular cancer,” she continued. “In the American Tobacco Company. By the way, they are building a memorial church now to the old man Duke. I say they ought to put a memorial window in that church made of Bull Durham tobacco and Duke’s Mixture. ...”
Then continuing, she said: “I am opposed to gay and expensive dressing, and I am opposed to balls – or hugging schools, I call them. I warn all boys against marrying ball room girls. I tell them if the girls practice hugging strange men before marriage they are likely to have the same taste afterwards. ...”
She spoke for an hour and a quarter, and it is no exaggeration to say that she held the rapt attention of her entire audience. She speaks clearly and distinctly, and while her address had not a logical arrangement and while she says a lot of sensational things she utters some striking truths, also. ...
Mrs. Carrie Nation did not fail to pay her respects to politics and to the national government as it relates to the liquor traffic. Speaking along this line she says, “When you go to vote you ought to know that your vote represents a principle.” She says that the Nation must have a head that is opposed to the saloon. As long as there is a party in power that is in favor of saloons, the saloons will exist. Every saloon is licensed by the National Government through the internal revenue department at Washington which is under the administration of the Republican party. The Republican party then is responsible for every saloon. The party is put into power by the voter. The voter then is logically and morally responsible for the existence of the saloon. She had quit smashing bar-rooms as she first started out to doing, because they are only the effect of a cause, which is the voter. She now works upon the cause, the voter, rather than the effect, the saloon.
“In five years we won’t have a licensed saloon in the United States, the people are waking up,” declared Mrs. Nation, and with all candor. The N&O July 30, 1907
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