Essay about Clara Barton

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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
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Since her mother paid her little attention and her brothers and sisters were older and had different interests, Clara often felt ignored or overly childish in this grownup family. In fact, her "childhood became a series of repeated attempts to express her own needs and proclivities, to shake off dependence, and to overcome the neglect and ridicule she felt were so often her lot" (Pryor 1987. p,10).

Only at school where her unusual intellectual abilities allowed her to stand out did Clara believe she received sufficient attention. After shocking her teacher by correctly spelling artichoke on the first day of school (Pryor 1987), she went on to impress her teachers with her eagerness to learn the reading, writing and arithmetic which the school stressed.

In her twenties Clara decided to expand her education further by attending the Clinton Liberal institute for higher learning. There she studied analytic geometry, calculus, astronomy, mathematics and natural science in addition to French, German, ancient history, philosophy and religion (Pryor 1987). With her highly atypical education for a woman of that time, Clara continued the close pupil-teacher relationships she had enjoyed in her earlier schooling.

Influential Relationships

As mentioned, Clara's family exerted a tremendous impact on her. Her siblings educated her both formally and informally, and her male cousins served as her

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