“I may be compelled to face danger, but never to fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them. ” This quote from Clara Barton explains that she is a was a very strong woman. She was a nurse of many, an educator, a leader, but most of all she was a friend. Clara Barton impacted the United States because she founded a major organization, created and lead a public school in New Jersey, and she and a team of others were a great help for president Abraham Lincoln and the government in 1865. She was determined to help America, and she did exactly that.
Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, 1821 in North Oxford Massachusetts. She grew up in a small cottage with her parents, Sarah and Stephen Barton and her four siblings, Dorothea, who was seventeen, Stephen, who was fifteen, David, who was thirteen, and Sarah Barton who was ten. Clara’s life was full of joy. Even though she was shy, she was always happy and she always wanted to help out as much as she could, according to Susan Hamen and her book. Clara’s was also very well educated. Her teachers were usually her siblings, but she did attend school. “I had no playmates, but in effect six fathers and mothers.
They were a family of school-teachers. All took charge of me, all educated me, each according to my personal taste”. My two sisters were scholars, and artists. My brothers were strong, ruddy, daring young men, full of life and business. ” From Susan Hamen and her book. Her sisters taught her things like math, reading, philosophy, and chemistry. While her brothers taught her important life skills. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a hard working housewife who worked around the house with the kids. When Clara was eight, she was sent off to boarding school.
Her parents thought it would be good for her to get away from home and focus on her education, because teaching was very important to her family and her parents were hoping she would carry on to be a teacher as well. Even though her parents thought it would be good for her, but she didn’t enjoy it at all. She hated the school so much that she refused to eat or work. She grew pale and weak. Clara was soon sent home back to Massachusetts where her family cared for her. It took a while, but she was getting better and better everyday. Clara was always fascinated by helping and caring for people.
When her brother was injured and was very ill, she dropped out of school and cared for him for two straight years until the doctor confirmed him that he was better. Caring for others made Clara very happy. When Clara was thirteen, she returned to her studies. She always did very well in school and was inspired to help others do the same. In May, 1839, Clara was eighteen years old and was already teaching her first class of forty children in a District School in North Oxford. She was a very successful teacher, especially for her age. The District School wasn’t the only school Clara had taught at.
She was called to many schools over the years leading from nice, respectful children to unruly children. She was very good at getting children to behave no matter the circumstance. In fact she was the first woman to create a public school, Bordentown, in New Jersey in 1839. This school started small but it began the spread of many more in New Jersey. The school was very successful and many children attended it. Clara taught many students of all ages in the school. Clara and other teachers loved teaching there. Sadly Clara had to leave the school behind because she wasn’t eligible to lead it any longer because of her gender.
Women were not usually allowed to be such a big part in society. The school ran smoothly for two years before Barton had to leave. Many children still attend the school today. Clara made as much as two dollars a week for her work, as little as that was she still loved what she did. Barton left New Jersey and Bordentown for Washington, D. C. in 1854. There she became the first woman to work in the Patent Office. Clara did many things to help out her country, but one of the biggest ways she was remembered was for founding The American Red Cross. Clara wanted to help people in a different way.
Clara made the decision to create The American Red Cross. American Red Cross is an organization that provides emergency assistance in the United States. They are usually volunteers, donors, and partners who help people who were injured by disasters around the world. They have done many things to help our country. American Red Cross helps with disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and many more. They respond very fast so that they can make sure you get safe quick. Clara and the Red Cross have made a major impact all over the world.
They have helped and saved many lives. Clara was the leader of the American Red Cross for twenty-three years before she had to depart from the organization. American Red Cross wasn’t the only time Clara volunteered to help people. On April 12, 1861, the South fired on Fort Sumter. Abraham Lincoln was president at the time. He declared war and asked seventy-five thousand soldiers to defend Washington. They soon agreed to the call. The war kept growing and growing and soon innocent soldiers were getting injured. Clara and her sister, Sarah, helped nurse the wounded soldiers.
Clara delivered sewing kits, wrote letters, gave out paper and other things to help as much as she could. In late 1861, Clara was called home where her father lay dying. She wrote to Governor, John A. Andrew. She asked for help to get the troops, when she wrote she said she would love to go administer comfort to our troops. Her father approved of her work, and gave her permission to go to the battlefield. She returned to Washington to nurse the eight thousand wounded soldiers hurt in the Sevens Days Battles. The following day her dad, Stephen Barton passed away at the age of eighty-eight.
Clara still respected her father’s advice. She quit her job as a patent clerk to go into “direct service of the sick and wounded troops wherever found”. “I have no fear of the battlefield” she said. In fact one of the other major impacts Clara had on the United States was offered by their current President, Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln knew how hard working and caring Clara was, so on March 11, 1865, she and a team of others began locating missing prisoners of war in Annapolis. From 1865 to 1869, after a long line of names, and letters Barton and her team had identified over twenty-two thousand men.
She continued to travel to different locations, discovering more and more soldiers. Her and her team then traveled to Andersonville, where they reburied twelve thousand eight hundred soldiers. Clara still wanted to continue her quest finding missing soldiers with her team, but sadly her money was nearly gone. She came up with an idea that could help her earn more income to keep the search going. She charged for the delivery of lectures. She had about three hundred lectures scheduled across the country. She raised about one hundred dollars for each, allowing her to continue her search.
She traveled for two years speaking to large crowds about her organization and how it would function. She earned a household name, the “Angle of the Battlefield”. Everyone looked up to her as an inspiration to help people. Clara’s work was recognized everywhere. Clara wanted to continue the work of the American Red Cross. She returned to Washington to find that her sister, Sally, grew very ill. She died shortly after and lead Clara to deep depression. She got so ill that she had to be submitted into a sanitarium in Dansville, New York.
By the winter of 1877 she had gotten to recover successfully and rented a home in Dansville. Clara was so determined to make her goals known. She was already starting to meet with the government officials. She made brochures, started speaking with small groups about her plan for American Red Cross. In 1880, James A. Garfield was elected president, and Clara now felt that someone would finally agree to the offer, and make American Red Cross official. On May 12, 1881 Clara organized a meeting for people who were interested in American Red Cross.
They talked about what would be best for the organization. Finally, on May 21, 1881, after a long road of preparing and hard work American Red Cross was now official. Barton was so excited that she had succeeded. She continued spreading the name and purpose of her organization, but sadly the assassination of President Garfield threatened her further work, but this did not stop her. Her work continued to spread and she soon was elected president of the American Red Cross. Over the years her organization was victorious even when something unfortunate.
She began working on a book entitled The Story of the Red Cross. In 1907 she wrote a short book about her youth entitled The Story of My Childhood, but she wrote no additional books. In 1910, Clara became ill with pneumonia. This was followed by bronchitis, but she pulled through. In 1911, she visited her home in North Oxford. Christmas brought her ninetieth birthday and also brought double pneumonia. She was faced with life or death on most days. She wrote “I dreamed I was back in battle. I waded blood up to my knees. I saw death as it is on the battlefield”.
Two days later, April 12, 1912, sadly she had passed away peacefully. She was given a small funeral service, as requested and was buried in a cemetery in North Oxford next to her parents. Clara dedicated her life to others on and off the battlefield. She was remembered for nursing others, educating others, and discovering missing soldiers during war. I believe that the United States would not be the same without her because she never gave up. She put others before herself at desperate measures and made sure everyone was safe. She is a huge inspiration and part of why America is who we are today.