Andrew Carnegie the 'Richest Man Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

However, Andrew Carnegie did give, and his money has indeed benefited many millions of people all around the world, and people today can make use of the many libraries that he has built, in order to acquire knowledge and thereby better themselves. It must be remembered that Andrew Carnegie had a strong belief in the meritocracy of the United States of America, and also that his free libraries would be of immense benefit to the immigrants, like himself, who were arriving in America at that time. (De-constructing the Philanthropic library, the Sociological Reasons behind Andrew Carnegie's Millions to Libraries)

However, Andrew Carnegie is primarily remembered for two main reasons or achievements, without which the United States of America would not have been the America that it is today; one being that he managed to make enormous amounts of money as a successful businessman and an industrialist, and secondly, he managed to give most of the money that he had made, away to charity. By the time he was twenty four years old, Andrew Carnegie was earning about $1,500 per year, which in today's world would amount to $200,000 per year, and this amount was merely his salary, and he was earning more money form his investments as well, one of his very first investments being in George Pullman's Company, the company which was making the first railroad sleeping cars. It was from these dividends that Andrew Carnegie was able to buy oil producing property, and later, during the 1870's, when almost all the steel being used in America was arriving from Great Britain, he launched his own steel company, in Braddock, Pennsylvania, which by the year 1881, was producing double as Britain's largest steel company would be able to produce. (Carnegie Institution, New Horizons for Science)

It is worth noting that from his very early years, Andrew Carnegie was aware of the fact that the world of business was not the only world that existed, and when he was thirty years old, he is supposed to have written a memo to himself, that he would further his education in Oxford. This showed that he believed that one must acquire knowledge and be well aware of things other than one's own business. When he wrote his 'Gospel of Wealth', he was able to tell the world that he believed in charity more than in anything else, and he has stated within the work, his thoughts on charity. First and foremost, he stated, it was not a good idea to leave behind vast fortunes for one's children, as it would do more harm than good for them, secondly, that one must not just give out money so that the giver may feel better; rather, one must offer support to the poor by training and educating them. Thirdly, one must make sure that the money that has been given is being utilized properly. It was Andrew Carnegie's strong contention that giving away one's wealth for the common good was as important as making the wealth in the first place; and the giving away must be done personally and it must also be done in the right manner. Perhaps America would have been a different place if Andrew Carnegie had not arrived and set up his immensely successful steel business in Pittsburgh, and if he had not believed in charity and in furthering the cause of education. (Carnegie Institution, New Horizons for Science)

However, there is no doubt that he cast a major influence on several aspects of life in the United States at that time, and he still does, even today, in the form of his Public Libraries and charitable trusts that he has left behind him.


Andrew Carnegie. America's Story, from America's Library. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

Andrew Carnegie, a Tribute. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

Carnegie Corporation of New York, Andrew Carnegie, Biography. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

Carnegie Institution, New Horizons for Science. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

Lorenzen, Michael. De-constructing the Philanthropic library, the Sociological Reasons behind Andrew Carnegie's Millions to Libraries. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

Margaret Carnegie, Mother. Retrieved at Accessed 23 October, 2005

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