The Beginnings of the American Red Cross

Essay by pudortuCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2008

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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...