Andrew Carnegie: Scottish Connections

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Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish born native then moved to America to start earning money because in his hometown of Dunfermline fell into hard times. Will, and his father-in-law Thomas Morrison, a shoemaker, and political reformer, joined the popular Chartist movement, which believed that if the masses took over the government then the working conditions would improve for everyone. When industrialism made home-based weaving obsolete, leaving workers such as Carnegie’s father, Will, hard-pressed to support their families. Will, Andrew’s father decided it was time for him to move out of Scotland and start a new life.

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Andrew Carnegie became an American industrialist who started to make a fortune over a period in the steel industry then became a major promoter of the welfare of other people. Carnegie worked in a Pittsburgh cotton factory as a boy before rising to the position of division superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859. While working for the railroad, he invested in various ventures, including iron and oil companies, and made his first fortune by the time he was in his early 30s. In the early 1870s, he entered the steel business, and over the next two decades became a dominant force in the industry. In 1901, he sold the Carnegie Steel Company to banker John Pierpont Morgan for $480 million. Carnegie then devoted himself to help the overall welfare of other people in his community, eventually giving away more than $350 million.

Andrew Carnegie considered himself a champion of the working man; however, his reputation was marred by a violent labor strike in 1892 at his Homestead, Pennsylvania, steel mill. After union workers protested wage cuts, Carnegie Steel general manager Henry Clay Frick, who was determined to break the union, locked the workers out of the plant. Andrew Carnegie was on vacation in Scotland during the strike, but put his support in Frick, who called in some 300 Pinkertons armed guards to protect the plant. A bloody battle broke out between the striking workers and the Pinkertons, leaving at least 10 men dead. The state law enforcement was brought in to help take control of the town, and union leaders were arrested and Frick hired replacement workers for the plant. After five months, the strike ended with the union’s defeat.

At age 14 Carnegie became a messenger in a telegraph office, where he eventually caught the notice of Thomas Scott. Carnegie’s subsequent rise was rapid, and in 1859 he succeeded Scott as superintendent of the railroad Pittsburgh division. Thomas Scott was a superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company who made Carnegie his private secretary and personal telegrapher in 1853. While he was there, he started to invest in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company which was the original holder of the Pullman patents, and they introduced the first successful sleeping car on American railroads. Andrew also started to buy into other companies as he made more money and started to build up a fortune. By the time Andrew was in his 30s, he had an average income of around $50,000.

After selling his business he decided that he would go into the human welfare area of life and help people get on their feet after hard times. His family had almost lost everything back in Scotland, and he didn’t want people to have to go through the same things as his family did when they first moved here. He talks about having to take several jobs at the same time to help his family stay afloat financial. Andrew would take several jobs before he was set financial for life. Andrew Carnegie was the richest man in the world while he was alive and still is considered one of the best business mans that ever walked the Earth.

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Andrew Carnegie: Scottish Connections. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved December 7, 2022 , from
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