The Lady with the Hatchet
Her name was Carry A. Nation, and instead of changing laws, she went after the offending beverage of the day — liquor — with a hatchet
I felt invincible. My strength was that of a giant. God was certainly standing by me. I smashed five saloons with rocks before I ever took a hatchet
-Carry A. Nation
A self-proclaimed “bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn’t like,” Nation terrorized the nation’s saloon keepers through vandalism for more than a decade.
Nothing could stop her, not divorce, horse whippings, or more than 30 arrests. She was pelted with rotten eggs, chased by lynch mobs, beaten by prostitutes, and vilified by preachers, politicians and the press. She didn’t care. She was on a mission from God.
During Prohibition, the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages were restricted or illegal. Prohibition was supposed to lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes needed to support prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. Instead, Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; organized crime blossomed; courts and prisons systems became overloaded; and endemic corruption of police and public officials occurred.
During the early 1900s there was a social trend building in the public arena toward prohibition of alcohol that manifested itself in the form of a temperance movement. A prominent agitator in the women’s temperance movement was a lady by the name of Carry Nation. Carry believed that she was ordained by God to promote temperance by entering illegal saloons that were flagrantly operating in defiance of the law and destroying their bars and stock.