Andrew Carnegie

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The richest man in the world, in his time, was Andrew Carnegie. His story of success was truly one of rags to riches. After coming to the U.S. from Scotland as part of a working-class family, he moved from job to job, eventually becoming more influential and gaining a large sum of money. Soon he was using his wealth to contribute to many public services, such as libraries and schools. Andrew Carnegie's life and actions have left a long-standing legacy and have contributed greatly to the American way of life, particularly toward education.

Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25th, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. His father was a hand loom weaver and Chartist. Carnegie believed in the importance of birthplace. “I was supremely so in my birthplace. Where one is born is very important, for different surroundings and traditions appeal to and stimulate different latent tendencies in the child.1”

Scotland's depression in 1848 caused the family to move to the United States. Here, they became part of a Scottish colony near Pittsburgh, in a town called Allegheny. Andrew was 12 years old at the time and worked in a cotton factory, going to school at night.

He became a messenger boy at age 14 for the Pittsburgh Telegraph Office , where the superintendent of the western division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Thomas A. Scott, noticed him and made him his secretary. Andrew later worked in Washington as Scott's assistant, who was the assistant secretary of war. Here, he organized the telegraph system for the military during the Civil War. He then took Scott's old superintendent job and made a series of investments.

Carnegie visited Britain often and took note of the rise of the iron industry. He was impressed by Henry Bessem...

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...the plethora of things named after him, including the dinosaur Diplodocus Carnegii, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, cities named “Carnegie” in both Pennsylvania and Oklahoma, the saguaro (Carnegia) cactus, the Carnegie Medal for children's UK literature, and Carnegie Hall in New York. People continue to benefit from his actions to this day, and will no doubt continue to benefit for generations to come.

Bibliography

Carnegie, Andrew. The Gospel of Wealth. Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 1998.

Krass, Peter. Carnegie. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. New York: The Penguin Press, 2006.

PBS Online, “Andrew Carnegie,” PBS Online/WGBH, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/peopleevents/pande01.html, Accessed 31 March 2008.

Wall, Joseph Frazier. Andrew Carnegie. Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989.

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