A Brief Biography of Andrew Carnegie

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There have been many wealthy men Throughout American history, many have been the topic of many heated debates among them, Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie at one time was the richest man in the world, who immediately after gaining that title began giving his money away. The impact and size of Carnegie’s philanthropic efforts are undeniable, but why he gave so much has been a topic of debate for nearly a century now. Carnegie’s rags to riches story is the epitome of the American dream and has been an inspiration to many entrepreneurs around the world. Andrew Carnegie was born November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. He was born to a family of weavers, a prominent occupation in his hometown. In 1847, the increased linen production from steam powered looms caused Carnegie’s father to lose his job. Carnegie’s mother went to work trying to provide for the family. This is when Carnegie says “I began to learn what poverty meant, it was burnt into my heart then that my father had to beg for work. And then and there came the resolve that I would cure that when I got to be a man.” (Carnegie, 1920) At the same time that Carnegie was learning about the pains of poverty; his family including his father, grandfather, and uncle were ardent labor activists. Working to end the hierarchy of the past and empower working men. (PBS, 1999) These two experiences would influence both Carnegie’s career and his ideology for the rest of his life. At times at odds with each other, but occasionally, he was capable of walking a fine line of building his fortune and helping those around him to improve their lot. In 1848 Carnegie came with his family to the United States eventually settling in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He was able to find wo... ... middle of paper ... ...y the end of his life Andrew Carnegie had given away nearly 350 million dollars putting even more into the Carnegie Foundation to continue his philanthropic efforts. Throughout Carnegies life he struggled to find a balance between two ideals; to make money, and to stand up for the working man. He obviously leaned more towards making money than he did working for labor rights, but Carnegie’s contributions to his community, the United States, and the world can not be understated. References Carnegie, A. (1920). Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (Popular Edidtion ed.). Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Juskalian, R. (2006, October 23). 878-page tome offers new insights on Carnegie. USA Today. PBS. (n.d.). Andrew Carnegie. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from American Experience website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/peopleevents/pande01.html

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