Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

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     Over the last hundred years many great people have come and gone. Only a few of these people have etched a legacy in history that puts them in a category of being influential through out the entire century. To achieve this state of supreme centennial importance ones impact must benefit not only the people living in the present but must also positively affect the men and women of the near and distant future. Anyone who accomplishes this task should be named the most influential person of the Twentieth Century. Because of Andrew Carnegie’s stand against harsh labor, expansion of the steel industry, and extreme generosity with ongoing philanthropic work, history will record him as the most influential person of the Twentieth Century.

     Carnegie is most widely known for his monopolization of the steel industry. He developed numerous companies to support the need for steel in the developing United States. He foresaw that following the Civil War steel was going to be an important part of American life. He decided that it would be a smart idea to invest in the developing industry and that decision paid off enormously. (Amer. Exp.) He worked to modernize the United States through the building of bridges, railroads, and other vital roadways, which in turn brought the country together. By 1900, Carnegie Steel Juggernaut produced more steel, than all of Great Britain.

In the early part of the Twentieth century large monopolies ruled the industrial world bringing about long hours, low wages, and harsh working conditions. This was also the time when the thought or the attempt to unionize was completely out of the question as far as most leaders of industry were concerned. Andrew Carnegie was the one of the so-called robber barons that took a stand against the unfair working conditions. Carnegie preached the rights of laborers and felt they should unionize to protect their jobs. (Amer Exp 2) As a result of Carnegie’s strong reputation his stand for unionization sent a message to the world that unions can and should be allowed. He persevered to shorten the average workday, and saw industry as a corporation between the worker and the employer.

Carnegie felt that work and money were a means to an end. His goal in industry wasn’t to become the richest man but instead to improve himself to benefit the greater good of mankind. He felt that the best way to accomplish this goal was through communication.

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(Bowman 68) Carnegie said that, “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” (Henle 1) Throughout his lifetime he donated over $350 million to the public in order for them to have the ability to better themselves and to attain their goals in the future. Several libraries in many large cities were the result of his donations. (Kings 1)

Andrew Carnegie has proven several times that he is indeed the most influential person of the Twentieth Century. The progress he made in the steel industry helped rocket the United States into the industrial revolution and provided the needed steel for the railroads and many other steel constructed structures that are essential to everyday life then and now. (Bowman 68) His stance against long hours, low wages, and poor working conditions opened eyes to how workers should be treated. His acceptance of unions must have made it easier for other companies to have the courage to unionize. His influence can most strongly be felt by his work in Philanthropy. Carnegie believed that its possessors should administer wealth, not randomly but with great purpose. (Henle 1) He donated three hundred and fifty million dollars before he died. In today’s market that translates to five point four billion dollars. (Henle 1) His favorite type of donation was the construction of a new library. There are few things that can be a more positive influence than the construction of several hundred libraries. Andrew Carnegie was a man unlike any other. He work hard not to benefit himself and his family, he didn’t strive to leave his kids the rich children in the world. He worked and climbed mountain with all of his might so that one day the world would be a better place because of his effort. Andrew Carnegie has made this world a much better place through his stand against harsh labor problem, his expansion and monopolization of the steel industry and his always generous Philanthropic work. Andrew Carnegie is with out a doubt the most influential person in the Twentieth Century.

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