Analysis: Andrew Carnegie

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Analysis: Andrew Carnegie

William Heiges


Period 3

A.P. US History

        One of the captains of industry of 19th century America, Andrew Carnegie helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his age. Later in his life, Carnegie sold his steel business and systematically gave his collected fortune away to cultural, educational and scientific institutions for "the improvement of mankind." Carnegie also was one of the first to call for a "league of nations" and he built "a palace of peace" that would later evolve into the World Court. His hopes for a civilized world of peace were destroyed, though, with the onset of World War I in 1914 (“American Experience: Andrew Carnegie." 1-2).In the business world he sought to become immune from competition by dominating all aspects of the production process. He was not content to own only the steel mills, but worked to control iron-ore barges, coal and iron fields and the railroads. Andrew Carnegie in many ways represented the American dream. He began with nothing and used his drive and intelligence to become the world’s richest man for his time. At the height of his power, he sold out his holdings and dedicated his remaining years expending his fortune to aid his fellow human beings ("Andrew Carnegie."3).


“Toward the end of his days…Andrew Carnegie was already a kind of national legend. His meteoric rise, the scandals and successes of his industrial generalship---all this was blurred into nostalgic memory…He had begun, in true Horatio Alger fashion, at the bottom;  he had ended, in a matter that would put Alger’s novels to shame, at the very pinnacle of success (Oates 58).

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        Andrew Carnegie was a great example of the myth that man can go from rags-to-riches. He arrived to America with practically nothing in his pocket and retired with more money that anyone could ever imagine at the time (58). As he began to make money, he became very brash, self-confident, and a little hypocritical, but as his life advanced, he gave away ninety-five percent of his fortune. His contributions to society still have an impact in our modern day lives in what we see and use. Andrew Carnegie is truly the perfect example of the American Dream, to travel there, ...

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