Essay on Andrew Carnegie And The Rise Of Big Business

Essay on Andrew Carnegie And The Rise Of Big Business

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During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the strength of the U.S. economy began transitioning from agricultural to industry. A variety of factors sparked this industrial revolution, but the genius industrial leaders, particularly Andrew Carnegie, allowed big business to take over and dominate the economy. As evidenced in Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business by Harold C. Livesay, Carnegie mastered and understood the organizational structures and technological factors necessary to run a profitable business. However, he did not have the best relationship with his workers or labor unions. Andrew Carnegie’s success and influence paved the way for the sustained dominance of big business in the American economy.
Carnegie did not have an easy path to success. Ironically, the industrial revolution in his native Scotland forced his father out of the textile industry. In search of better opportunity, his family then decided to emigrate to the U.S. In order to improve his conditions and achieve the “American Dream,” Carnegie would need to work hard and seize every opportunity presented to him. At the age of fourteen, he found a job as a bobbin boy, paying $1.20 a week. After working twelve-hour days, he would then trek across Pittsburgh to attend night school. This exemplifies his determination to make something of himself and adapt to the changes his father couldn’t. When offered a job as a messenger boy for the O’Reilly Telegraph Company, Carnegie leaped at the prospect to escape the poor conditions at the textile mill. He knew he had potential and wrote of the opportunity, “I felt that my foot was on the ladder and that I was bound to climb” (Livesay 21). While working as a telegrapher, Carnegie learned almost everything abo...


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...rds died. Poor treatment of workers and subsequent strikes were common during the industrial revolution because many large companies focused exclusively on profits and not their workers. Workers and businesses rarely avoided conflict during the industrial revolution.
Andrew Carnegie’s influence on big business and the rise of the modern corporation forever changed the American economy. While businesses began expanding before Carnegie, the practices he introduced helped them reach new heights. Cost management and vertical integration allowed corporations to maximize profits. Innovation and adaptation to technology helped businesses grow and keep pace with change. Firm stances on negotiations with labor unions gave big businesses a negative, greedy stigma. Without Carnegie’s genius leadership, it’s possible that the U.S. economy could still be based on agriculture.

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