Andrew Carnegie: The Father of Middle-Class America

2081 WordsOct 30, 20129 Pages
Andrew Carnegie: The Father of Middle-Class America For decades Americans couldn’t help but love the red-headed, fun-loving Little Orphan Annie. The image of the little girl moving so quickly from poverty to wealth provided hope for the poor in the 1930s, and her story continues to be a dream of what the future just might hold. The rags-to-riches phenomenon is the heart of the American Dream. And few other people have embodied this phenomenon as much as Andrew Carnegie did in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His example and industry caused him to become the father of middle-class America. Andrew Carnegie can be looked to as an ideal example of a poor immigrant making his way up to become leader of the capitalist world. Carnegie was born…show more content…
Throughout Carnegie’s life, he displayed his firm belief in the certainty of competition. In fact, he feared competition and did all he could to hinder it (“Richest”). Andrew Carnegie’s belief in Social Darwinism also affected his treatment of his laborers. Perhaps the only negative quality that is placed upon him is that of oppressor of the working class. Carnegie inspired competition among his workers and fired the managers and work crews that fell behind. His workers believed that upward mobility wasn’t possible—they were stuck as laborers and would never rise higher (“Richest”). Provide parenthetical documentation for any information that you can attribute to another source. Still cite a source even if you only summarize the information in it. Catlin 3 Despite his workers’ pessimism, Carnegie still believed in their ability to improve their situations. Carnegie once said, “To be born to honest poverty and compelled to labor and strive for a livelihood in youth is the best of all schools for developing latent qualities, strengthening character, and making useful men” (qtd. in McCloskey 233). He firmly believed in the laborers’ right to organize themselves in unions and canonized the commandment “Thou shalt not take thy neighbor’s job” (“Richest”). Perhaps Carnegie recognized that unions and other societies of organized laborers develop a cohesiveness that moves them up in society; the

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