Captains of Industry

Decent Essays

American society is constantly evolving and changing, but has been consistently shaped by the American economy. The American dream of “rags to riches” drove production and allowed for the rapid rise of industry under the theory of Social Darwinism. The ideas of vertical integration, horizontal integration, and monopoly led to the expansion of railroads, the use of kerosene from refined oil to light homes, and the American domination of the steel industry. These recently introduced concepts and their repercussions are indebted to the businessmen who sought to manipulate and dominate the industry. Despite beginnings in poverty, determination and innovation led Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller to become not only captains of industry in their own time, but also legacies of American success. Though very different in personality, Rockefeller and Carnegie were raised under similar circumstances and shared similar convictions in regard to poverty. Growing up in Dunfermline, Scotland, Carnegie experienced the life of the working poor first-hand (Andrew Carnegie PBS). His father was a weaver, and the industrial revolution that would later correlate directly with Carnegie’s success destroyed his father’s trade (Andrew Carnegie PBS). As a result, his mother was forced to open a small grocery shop and mend shoes on the side to support the family. At age 13, Carnegie taught himself morse code so that he could work as a messenger in Pittsburgh's city office, a decision that

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