Andrew Carnegie and the the Second Industrial Revolution Essay

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Andrew Carnegie and the the Second Industrial Revolution

Andrew Carnegie, the “King of Steel”, the benevolent employer, the giant of industry, was among the greatest influences of the second industrial revolution. It is sometimes questioned whether Carnegie was the ruthless, sneaky steel tyrant some made him out to be, or the generous, benevolent education benefactor he appeared to be. I believe him to be a combination of both, but more so the great giant of industry.

Carnegie was the classic rags to riches story, the penniless immigrant who made it big in the land of opportunity. Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and migrated to America in 1848 at the age of 13. His first job was in a cotton mill, earning a measly $1.20
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As young as 33, Carnegie was pulling in an annual income of $50,000 a year, a huge amount at that time, and this was enough for him. Carnegie was a firm believer that anyone could make it to the top, and that it was the wealthys’ duty to help the poor work towards a more comfortable life. Carnegie said that “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” This is a greedy, unselfish philosophy that a robber baron could not conceive.

Without Carnegie, the steel industry, and the second industrial revolution in general, would never have progressed as much as it did. Carnegie did what was necessary to make the steel industry more productive and more efficient, for less money. He was a shrewd, ruthless, businessman who’s aggressiveness made the steel, railroad, and oil industries so economically successful. These characteristics, though not always looked upon as nice or sympathetic, were sometimes necessary. He had paid his time as a poor factory boy, and now it was his turn to live comfortably and aid others less fortunate to work towards the same success.

I feel that Carnegie was a very generous and benevolent philanthropist in his giving of hundreds of millions of dollars to schools, libraries, arts and music centers, and other educational and recreational facilities. However, I believe it would have been more ethical to be more
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