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The Beginnings Of The American Red Cross

992 words - 4 pages

The American Red Cross is an organization of volunteers that provides humanitarian relief during disasters and helps people to become able to deal with emergencies. The formation of the American Red Cross can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century. During this time, there was much bloodshed in the U.S. because of the Civil War. A woman by the name of Clara Barton provided on-scene care to many soldiers during the war and identified those that had fallen after it was over. Providing these services helped her to realize her true calling in life-that call being to respond to human need. After working with the International Red Cross in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War, Clara became inspired and eventually laid the foundation of the American Red Cross. Thus, the beginnings of the American Red Cross rest mainly on the shoulders of one woman, Clara Barton.Clara Barton was born December 25, 1821, at North Oxford Massachusetts. She lived a childhood as any other girl during that era and became a school teacher at the age of seventeen. At the age of thirty-three, Clara had to give up school teaching because of trouble with her throat. She moved to Washington, D.C., where she became a copyist in the U.S. Patent Office. She eventually worked her way up to become the confidential clerk to the Commissioner of Patents, Charles Mason. She worked there until 1957 when President Buchanan ousted Mason and appointed a Democrat as Commissioner of Patents. The patent office invited Clara back in 1860. She jumped at the chance and picked up where she had left off. During her time in Washington, Barton had made many strong political relationships which would help her on her journey. One of those relationships was with Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. After the civil war began, Clara felt a calling to aid Union soldiers. She gave care to them on and off of the battlefield. Clara became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield" (Redcross.org). Towards the end and after the war, she became involved in helping people find their missing family members. After all of her work was finished, Clara moved to Geneva to recover her health."Upon arriving in Geneva in 1869, Clara Barton received two surprises. The first was recognition that here, 4,000 miles from home, she was a celebrity because of the work she had organized and done almost alone in the Civil War. The second was to learn about the Red Cross, concerning which she apparently had not heard the least word in Washington" (Hurd, 35). It was not long before the International Red Cross had called upon her to join them in caring for soldiers and refugees of the Franco-Prussian War. The Red Cross had become Clara's new life mission. While in Europe, her health deteriorated. She had spent four years in Europe, but her broken health caused her to return home to North Oxford-with her came the idea of the Red Cross. It took four more years for Clara to return back to health, but...

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