How Did Clara Barton Impact Society

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In the late 19th century, there were many influential women including Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many others that were busy making their impact on society. This was the crucial time period for the reform and improvement of women’s rights. Along with this, it was also the time that Clara Barton pushed for the creation of the American Red Cross. Barton was one of the most influential, but often overlooked, woman of her time period because she pushed for the creation of one of the most relied on associations throughout the world.

On December 25, 1821, Clara Barton was born the youngest of five children. Her large family helped influence her love for teaching and caring for others. Along with teaching,
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It was during this time where she met doctor Louis Appia. Appia was a member of the International Red Cross that was founded in 1863 by a Swiss banker, Jean Henri Dunant (Ditchfield 57). Appia explained that the International Red Cross was established at the Geneva Convention in 1864 as a neutral and independent relief society. The society would provide care for people on either sides of the war and armies were not allowed to shoot at anyone wearing a plain red cross on a white bandage, which was the symbol for the Red Cross at that time and still is to this day. Since the United States had refused to participate in the Geneva Convention and would not sign the Treaty of Geneva, Barton had never heard of this organization but thought it was an excellent idea. She immediately decided to come back the the United States to speak to the Senate and find out why we were not apart of this organization and to hopefully convince them to change their…show more content…
Many politicians did not feel we needed to create an American Red Cross because they did not feel we would go into another war and thought it to be unnecessary during peacetime. Others felt that joining an international society might give other countries the chance to interfere with our government. In order to publicize the solutions to these problems, Barton wrote a booklet called “The Red Cross of the Geneva Convention: What It Is.” In the booklet, Barton explained that the treaty of Geneva did not try to control foreign governments but just provided guidelines for the fair treatment of prisoners of war. She also mentioned that members of the Red cRoss should be considered neutral aid and that those wearing the symbol of the Red Cross should not be harmed. Another thing Barton expressed was that the Red Cross did not have to be used in a time of war. The organization could be helpful in natural disasters and other times of need.

At the beginning of 1878, Barton arrived in the White House to discuss the creation of the American Red Cross with president Rutherford B. Hayes. She brought a letter from the head of the International Red Cross, Gustave Moynier, that was urging president Hayes to sign the Treaty of Geneva. Barton was referred to Frederick Seward to talk about her plan and vision but he rejected the idea saying that “It is all settled, the question will never be considered again.” (Ditchfield
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