Introducing Mary Edwards Walker

“You must come to terms with the reality that nothing outside ourselves, be it people or things is actually responsible for our happiness.”

-Mary Edwards Walker 


I am drawn to Mary Walker because she risked her life to help injured soldiers in the Civil War, because she fought for women’s rights, and because she is the first and only women to receive the Medal of Honor. Mary was a surgeon in the Civil War, and while trying to help soldiers, she was captured by the Confederate Army and was a prisoner of war for five months. Multiple times she was arrested for wearing a man’s clothing, but she did not allow herself to be pushed to wear a dress. She also wrote two books, Hit and Unmasked.

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Mary Edwards Walker should be considered eminent because she helped many people in the Civil War as a surgeon and inspired a lot of women to fight for their rights. She volunteered before, after and during the Civil War in hospitals and in orphanages, wearing pants and a top hat the entire time. She was the president of the “National Dress Reform Association” and supported women’s suffrage. She wrote two books talking about her views on women’s rights and voting. Between her schooling and the Civil War, Mary set up two main projects: one project that helped families find other family members in hospitals across Washington, and the other providing female visitors a safe place to stay during their visit.  

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I think one of Mary Walker’s strengths is being determined and not letting what people say hurt her. When she was told to stop wearing men’s clothing, to which she would say “I don’t wear men’s clothes, I wear my own clothes”, or when she was told to quit the debate society in school, or when she was told she could not work in the Civil War because she was a woman, she always pushed back, and in several cases she won. Also, after being given the Medal of Honor, the criteria for getting a Medal of Honor was changed and was taken away from Mary, but she refused and continued to wear her Medal of Honor until her death. Years later, the Medal was re-awarded to her in 1977, after she had died. Another strength was being a critical thinker and not simply accepting what society said just because that was “just the way it is”. She fought for women’s rights and could understand that women should have the right to vote, even if that was not the typical opinion in society. One of Mary’s weaknesses might have been that she was at times almost too brave, crossing into enemy territory trying to help people during the war, and being taken as a prisoner of war in the process. But that bravery also served as one of her greatest strengths while helping in the war and while fighting for women’s rights.  

“You [men] are not our protectors…. If you were, who would there be to protect us from?”

-Mary Edwards Walker 


Before Mary Walker was a famous feminist and surgeon, she attended Syracuse Medical College in 1855 to receive a Doctor of Medicine degree and was the only female in her class. It was rare for women to pursue careers in that field, so Mary had to overcome the challenge of constantly being told she could not be a surgeon. In school, Mary joined the debating society as the first female member and was suspended when she would not quit. Originally, when offering to work as a surgeon in the Civil War, her offer was turned down because she was a woman and female surgeons were not trusted or accepted. Mary was persistent though, and eventually they let her help.  


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One person who influenced Mary Walker was Amelia Bloomer, who informed women of the health risks with corsets and dresses and started wearing “bloomers”, or pantaloons, and convinced many other women to do the same. Mary Walker wore bloomers before she started wearing men’s clothing all the time, even when other women abandoned bloomers after teasing and assaults from certain men and women. Amelia Bloomer opened Mary’s eyes to the fact that a change could be made. The second large influence was Mary’s family. Both her parents believed that girls and boys should get equal education, and Mary and her sisters were all educated as boys would have been by their parents. They also supported Mary when she started wearing what would be traditionally men’s clothing and told her that working towards a job as a surgeon was perfectly acceptable. Amelia Bloomer and the Walkers were huge influences that helped Mary do all the work she did in the Civil War and for women’s rights.  


One passion I share with Mary Edwards Walker is writing. After her work in the Civil War, Mary wrote two books about her views of feminism and the education system. As for our upbringing, we both grew up in North America, with parents who encouraged us. Mary’s parents were extremely supportive of her educational and career goals, which was rare in the 1830’s.  

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A quality I think I share in common with Mary Edwards Walker is being a critical thinker. She also cared about women’s rights, which is something I care about too. Another quality I think we share is being determined, something Mary had to be to achieve her eminence.

Mary Edwards Walker exemplifies my goals in TALONS because I want to work as hard as she did at school. She had to put in a lot of effort to get an education and to get her Doctor of Medicine degree, and I want to work just as hard to do well in TALONS.  

The main barrier that separates Mary Edwards Walker and I is when we grew up. Because Mary grew up in the 1830’s, education was uncommon for girls, as was being a surgeon. Now, if I wanted to be surgeon, it would take much less effort that it took Mary. I can address this in my speech by doing research on how the daily lives of women in the 1830-1900’s compare to our lives now.  

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Mary Edwards Walker has contributed to feminism and women’s rights by demonstrating in the Civil War that women can be surgeons just as well as men can, and she inspired many women to wear “Bloomers”, when it was still unaccepted for women to wear pants. She almost never wore a dress in public, even during her wedding, where she wore pants. She contributed as a surgeon in the war by helping injured soldiers on both sides. Before being accepted as a surgeon by the army, she volunteered as a nurse at orphanages and at hospitals.  

Mary Edwards Walker has made a ding in the universe by fighting for equal rights for women, something that is still being fought for today. Today though, any women can go to university in Canada, which is the difference between what Mary Walker had to go through and what we must today. But that right to an education we have all started with women like Mary, who fought for their own education. I hope that in a hundred years, women still understand that their education is not something that was just handed to all girls in the past, but was something they had to work for. I hope people can realize this and thank Mary Walker, and all the other girls, who fought for equal rights. 

While rising to her eminence, Mary had to face many obstacles, such as getting an education and the gender roles of society. She faced these obstacles by ignoring those who told her she “could not do it”, and instead just went for it. She showed up to university, even when she was told not to. She wore pants and a top hat, even after getting arrested more than five times for it. She even tried registered to vote in 1871 but was again turned away. Mary Walker wanted equal rights for women and men, and she feared a future where women were continually forced to fit in the gender roles of society. She felt that “the greatest sorrows from which women suffer today are those physical, moral and mental ones, that are caused by their unhygienic manner of dressing”.  


My goal for the next stage of my research is to find out more about what Mary Walker’s daily life would have been like in the 1830’s to 1900’s. I want to be able to connect with Mary Walker through knowing what life was like. I will find at least a dozen more facts about the time period when she lived before Night of the Notables so I can understand her even more.  







By October 27, 2019.    Socials   

Digital Footprint Assignment

  1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.

My digital footprint could affect my future when applying for jobs or when applying for university. If a possible employer sees negative things you may have posted or said on the internet, they are probably less likely to hire you. Same thing for a university. It could also impact your relationship with your friends if they see something rude that you posted. Your friends can find images and comments you post, and they may not appreciate a friend that posts mean things on the internet. Also, if you post something mean about someone, that person could find it and they will probably not be happy that you posted it. Finally, you might have posted an image of something illegal that you did, or you could have posted an illegal comment, and there might be legal consequences. You should try to use social media and the internet to create a positive impact and make friends, not hurt people.

2. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.

To keep my digital footprint appropriate and safe I can THINK (is it true, is it hurtful, is it illegal, is it necessary, and is it kind) before posting anything, I can avoid posting the location of my house or school, and I can avoid mentioning the names of family members and friends. If I always think about the impact of what I am posting, then I will not post things that could endanger me, such as posting personal information, or post things that could endanger others, such as the names of my friends or their addresses. If I use the THINK acronym, I will avoid hurting others on the internet, and doing anything that is illegal. If you are on social media, you can change the setting of your account to keep it more private, but you have to understand that everything you post is permanent, and once you post it, even if it was on a private account, people can find ways to see it.

3. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?

If I could go back in time, I do not think I would change anything or do anything different online. I do not use any social media, so I generally do not post anything, and I have definitely never posted personal information about my school or my address. I would tell my younger self and other students that what you post and how often you post will have an affect not just on your career, but also on your social life. I would explain that to them by showing them how distracting social media can be and how concerned people are with their social media. I would advise them to only post images and words that were really important and meaningful to them, not just posting for the sake of posting. If everybody only posted inspiring things, we would probably be less distracted by our social media, less people would be hurt, less people would have the chance to regret things they had said, and the environment online would probably be more inviting and happy.

By September 5, 2019.       

Training Post

You are now going to create your very first post. In a separate tab or browser window, go to your Dashboard on the left and go to  Posts -> Add New.

1) Title – Create a title for your blog post. Your title will be: Digital Footprint Assignment

2) Body – This is where you place your content of the post – text, videos, pictures, etc. Follow the instructions on the Digital Footprint Assignment page to see what questions you need to answer here.

3) Tool Bar – In your toolbar you can “Add Media” and “Add Documents” into your posts, this is the best way to create visual representations. You can also change fonts, hyperlink, etc.

4) Publish – Here is where you control what items are public and private. You can also control when they are published to your website.

5) Categories – Here is where you choose where you want your post to go. This is your digital binder with all of your subjects. Make sure to categorize each post with the relevant subject. E.g. Categories -> English

6) Tags –  Here is where you tag posts with one or two of the most readily applicable Core Competencies. These tags can help you find things quicker on your blog and help you stay organised. E.g. Tag -> creativethinking

7) Publish – When you are done, simply “Publish” it. If it has been edited, press “Republish” to update with the latest version of the content.