Essay on Andrew Carnegie: Ruthless Conqueror or Great Philanthropist?

Essay on Andrew Carnegie: Ruthless Conqueror or Great Philanthropist?

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Andrew Carnegie can be looked at as a double edged sword. One edge of the blade would show Carnegie as an ideal example of a poor immigrant fighting his way up to become an incredibly successful business man who would one day give nearly all his fortune away to help society improve itself. The reverse edge of the blade would show Carnegie as a ruthless business man who would slash his workers pay, drive other businesses under and used corruption to become leader of the capitalist world. These viewpoints of Carnegie have changed as years pass. Early accounts of Carnegie depict him as the ruthless conqueror of the steel industry while other later works tend to show both sides of Carnegie with great emphasis on the fact that he was a great philanthropist who would donate millions to libraries and colleges in order for people to improve their education and lives on their own. Carnegie did not believe in just giving people money, that does not improve them or show work ethic. Carnegie believes in social Darwinism and wants people to fight for themselves and their own success just as he had to.
Carnegie was born into a poor working class family in Scotland. The massive changes occurring during the Industrial Revolution proved to be difficult on Carnegie’s father. The rapid changes from the need for craftsmen to industrialism caused his father to lose his weaving business. The Carnegie family was opposed to the idea of a privileged class, who gained their wealth simply by inheritance. This type of upbringing played a large factor in Andrew Carnegie’s future. Probably because of the hardships he watched his father go through; Carnegie would reject the idea of living in a life of poverty and instead did everything in his power to ens...


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...tobiography of Andrew Carnegie ; and, The gospel of wealth. Ney York: Indy publish Company, 1996.
McCloskey, Robert Green. American Conservatism in the Age of Enterprise. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 1951.
Morris, Charles R. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J.P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.
Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.
Standiford, Les. Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2005.
The Richest Man in the World: Andrew Carnegie. Directed by Austin Hoyt. Performed by Narr. David Ogden Stiers. 1997.
Werth, Barry. Banquet at Delmonico's : great minds, the Gilded Age, and the triumph of evolution in America. New York: Random House, 2009.

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