Friday, October 14, 2011

The Age of Steel

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June 1, 001


David Darnell


The Age of Steel


“The American Experience” Meet Andrew Carnegie.


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www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/sfeature/meet andrews.html 16 June 001


Author unknown


This article depicts Andrew Carnegie as more than a “ruthless and grasping” Pittsburgh steel manufacturer or millionaire. He was a skillful and efficient businessman for sure. But, he was also a “man of steel with a heart of gold.” Who never forget the hard times of his youth or the love of family?


His life began in the town of Dunfermline Scotland to an impoverished family. This poverty taught him a very valuable lesson and guided him the rest of his life. It made him want to become more than a poor laborer working for wages.





On the surface Carnegie appeared to be a ruthless businessman with one thought in mind, money. He worked his way up the ladder to become the richest man in the world at that time. He became the Rockefeller of steel. This climb was sometimes turbulent. At his Homestead plant his manger Henry Clay Firch stopped a union strike with the aid of Pinkerton detectives at the cost of human lives. Carnegie’s tactics were a little subtler. He wrote in his files that money was “one of the worst species of idolatry” and that once he mad his fortune he was going to share with others before it degraded him beyond the hope of permanent recovery.”


He accomplished this in two ways. First, he created an empire of steel and money. Second, he thought of others before himself. He even postponed his marriage to care for his ailing mother. He went even farther before his death by donating over 50 million dollars to free libraries, colleges, and educational grants.


I agree with this article that there were two faces to Andrew Carnegie. He was a ruthless executive while still retaining a compassionate and generous side. His heart was as large as his empire.





The article relates to the material in Chapter 18 that tells of Carnegie’s struggle with the growth of his steel company and his journey as a self-made man. The industrial boom of the steel industry helped Carnegie build an empire. Although his mother was a washwoman and his father worked himself to death in the mills, he climbed out of the slums into the mansions of New York. He started in the medieval capital of Scotland and went in search of his own castle. He found his castle. But, unlike some kings, he distributed his wealth among others less fortunate.





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