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Clara Barton Essay

1260 words - 6 pages

Almost all Americans have learned about the iconic people in American history including George Washington, Thomas Edison, and Abraham Lincoln. Although all of them deserve their recognition, they aren’t the only ones who have changed history. Many Americans, not just a select few, changed history and created the America we know today. One in particular is Clarissa Harlowe Barton, who went by the name of Clara. At the time Clara lived, women were still considered inferior to men. Throughout her work, she faced much sexism, but she worked past it and created a legacy for herself. Also occurring during her life was the Civil War, which she was a very helpful part of. Clara’s most well known ...view middle of the document...

Although she was fired in 1856 after the Democratic nominee James Buchanan took office, she was drawn to the war effort after seeing many of the injured soldiers flooding into Washington. She started her service for the Union army by taking supplies to soldiers. After persuading government leaders, Barton was allowed to work on the field by collecting and bringing supplies and nursing the wounded soldiers. The work she did was strenuous and demanding but soldiers on the field were very grateful for the assistance and supplies she contributed. Clara earned the name ‘Angle of the Battlefield’ after she arrived in northern Virginia in August 1862 after a battle with some much needed supplies and her voluntary nursing services. Being a field nurse also came with risks, though. Once, Barton was so close to the field that a bullet grazed her arm and killed the soldier she was treating. Throughout the war, Clara continued to aid soldiers on the battlefield in many battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Charleston. In addition to her work as a field nurse, Clara also became a public speaker and spoke of her war experiences to large numbers of people. Near the end of the war in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln declared Barton the General Correspondent for the Friends of Paroled Prisoners after she offered to look for missing soldiers. Through prison rolls, parole rolls, and casualty lists, Barton was able to identify 22,000 missing soldiers. She concluded her service for the Civil War by instituting a national cemetery for the deceased Union prisoners at the Andersonville Prison in Georgia. With all the work she had done during the Civil War, Clara had become quite weary, so she went to Europe to rest as her doctor had prescribed. While there she learned about the International Red Cross, a relief organization that served ___. Her resting didn’t last for long, for while she was there, she served with the organization in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–'71. Upon returning to America, she moved to create an American branch of the Red Cross in order to bring the help they were giving in Europe to America. In 1881, the American Red Cross was founded and she served as its first president. As president, Barton monitored the relief efforts of the first disasters they helped, including the Johnstown Flood in 1889 and the Galveston Flood in 1900. If all that service wasn’t enough, Barton also worked as a suffrage supporter throughout her life. Clara spoke in the first women’s national suffrage convention in 1869 in Washington D.C. After that she continued to speak at NAWSA (National American Women Suffrage Association) conventions...

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