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Andrew Carnegie

Essay by   •  November 4, 2010  •  Essay  •  780 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,561 Views

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Over the last hundred years many great people have come and gone. Only a few of these people have etched a legacy in history that puts them in a category of being influential through out the entire century. To achieve this state of supreme centennial importance ones impact must benefit not only the people living in the present but must also positively affect the men and women of the near and distant future. Anyone who accomplishes this task should be named the most influential person of the Twentieth Century. Because of Andrew Carnegie's stand against harsh labor, expansion of the steel industry, and extreme generosity with ongoing philanthropic work, history will record him as the most influential person of the Twentieth Century.

Carnegie is most widely known for his monopolization of the steel industry. He developed numerous companies to support the need for steel in the developing United States. He foresaw that following the Civil War steel was going to be an important part of American life. He decided that it would be a smart idea to invest in the developing industry and that decision paid off enormously. (Amer. Exp.) He worked to modernize the United States through the building of bridges, railroads, and other vital roadways, which in turn brought the country together. By 1900, Carnegie Steel Juggernaut produced more steel, than all of Great Britain.

In the early part of the Twentieth century large monopolies ruled the industrial world bringing about long hours, low wages, and harsh working conditions. This was also the time when the thought or the attempt to unionize was completely out of the question as far as most leaders of industry were concerned. Andrew Carnegie was the one of the so-called robber barons that took a stand against the unfair working conditions. Carnegie preached the rights of laborers and felt they should unionize to protect their jobs. (Amer Exp 2) As a result of Carnegie's strong reputation his stand for unionization sent a message to the world that unions can and should be allowed. He persevered to shorten the average workday, and saw industry as a corporation between the worker and the employer.

Carnegie felt that work and money were a means to an end. His goal in industry wasn't to become the richest man but instead to improve himself to benefit the greater good of mankind. He felt that the best way to accomplish this goal was through communication. (Bowman 68) Carnegie said that, "the man who dies rich, dies disgraced." (Henle 1) Throughout his lifetime he donated over $350 million to the public in order for them to have the ability to better themselves

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