Philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie

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Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself, once said Andrew Carnegie. While these were wise words to live by, working for Mr. Carnegie did not seem as bright. Surprisingly he provided low wages and poor working conditions which were depressing and caused bad work morale. Workers felt like Carnegie did not care about them and their well being. Amazed by many, after moving to the US from Scotland, Carnegie became an influential industrialist and gained large amounts of money. He led an enormous expansion of the steel industry and made wise choices which caused his business to excel. He supported workers rights and demolished unions. Carnegie believed the wealthy had an obligation to give back to society. At the end of his life, he donated $350 million back to society.

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He was a philanthropist who went from Rags to Riches. Carnegie pushed his steel workers hard and took all of the benefit. His steel company made millions and he kept most for himself at the time. (Later in life he found perspective and gave back to society.) Carnegie’s workers were very poor, and had weak working conditions. The workers were given one day off a year; the Fourth of July, but the rest of the year was filled with blood and sweat as the workers spend hours of doing difficult labor. Carnegie would not make money in honest ways. It took the wages of nearly 4,000 steelworkers to match the earnings of Andrew Carnegie. He cheated his workers and would squeeze the last drop of effort out of his workers. Carnegie’s goal was to break the Union so they could reduce wages, thus the outcome of the Homestead Act of 1892. He dropped wages, increased hours, and all steel plants defeated the union. Carnegie’s employees worked over 84 hours per week and received less than $10. Carnegie made decisions only if the outcome would benefit him. Carnegie was a pioneer in the steel industry and changed the way of production.

The Bessemer process inspired Carnegie and his ideals about producing steel as a way to make it faster and cheaper. As a result, railroads began to lay steel rails, and Carnegie made a fortune. Later in life, Carnegie promoted the Gospel Of Wealth, which described the importance of philanthropy by the new upper class of self made rich. He believed that men who continued to keep saving their money was not the proper use, because the community could not advance from it. It spoke to issues of contribution, legacy, and community as important values. Because Carnegie was extremely wealthy, it helped create the U.S as a world power in steel. Andrew Carnegie worked his way up from being an immigrant to one of the wealthiest men of his time. Although Carnegie treated his workers crudely, he gave back to music halls, educational grants, established trust funds, crushed labor unions, and build over 3,000 public libraries. (Over 90% of his wealth was donated.) In today’s society the amount Carnegie gave back is worth $4.8 billion. Carnegie was known for business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and philanthropic endeavors. Carnegie canceled/ blew away competition while making his steel cheaper. Carnegie was the most important philanthropist in history.

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Philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie. (2019, Aug 05). Retrieved December 9, 2022 , from

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