Clara Barton

Powerful Essays
Clara Barton


Fondly referred to as the "angel of the battlefield" (The Encyclopedia Britannica Online), Clara Barton served as one of the greatest humanitarians this country has ever known. Persistent beyond belief, Clara employed her remarkable interpersonal skills to teach unruly school children, to collect supplies to send to the battlefront, and to struggle to form the American Red Cross. An equal rights advocate, her most memorable successes consisted of improvements in education, foreign aid, and blacks' and women's rights. This American heroine, whose efforts and bravery have become legendary, worked diligently to reach her ideal: "creating the vigilant social conscience which alone can safeguard individual liberty from the assaults of its enemies and make a nation great in its own eyes, as well as in the estimation of a critical world" (Joyce 1959, p.96).


The youngest of five children, Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, 1821 to a middle class family in North Oxford, Massachusetts. In this rocky New England countryside, Clara, as she quickly became known, learned the value of hard work and hard principles through her labors on the family farm. From the beginning, Clara's family had an immeasurable influence on her. Her older siblings, who were all quite intelligent, helped educate Clara and could scarcely keep up with answering her never-ending barrage of questions. Her active mind readily absorbed new lessons and novel stories about famous ancestors. Something of a tomboy, she portrayed exceptional equestrian skills and could play sports with surprising aptitude, compliments of her brothers and male cousins.

Despite seeming to have a comfortable life, however, Clara's ov...

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...e" (Joyce 1959, p.96); each period needs someone to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of humanity. Clara Barton proudly assumed that role.

Works Cited

Barton, William E. The Life of Clara Barton Founder of the American Red Cross. Vol. 1. New York: AMS Press, 1969.

Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds. New York, NY: Basics Books, 1993

Hutchinson, John F. Champions of Charity: War and the Rise of the Red Cross. Boulder: Westview Press, Inc., 1996.

Joyce, James Avery. Red Cross International and the Strategy of Peace. New York: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1959.

Pryor, Elizabeth Brown. Clara Barton: Professional Angel. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.

Ross, Ishbel. Angel of the Battlefield: The Life of Clara Barton. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1956.

The Encyclopedia Britannica Online: Barton)
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