Andrew Carnegie

by Max from San Diego

This is a portrait of Andrew Carnegie (Google)
This is a portrait of Andrew Carnegie (Google)

In the world of the young American where the world is at your feet, you can do anything you want to do and there are many choices of what you can do, what do you do? Many Americans pursue wealth in the hopes that they can die with it or perhaps pass it down to their children. Not Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie believed that the rich should help the poor as his book The Gospel of Wealth clearly shows. Andrew Carnegie is a hero because he pursued wealth, which when he was young, hoped could be given away to anyone and everyone who needed it. Through his astounding generosity and determination, he was able to achieve that goal.

Andrew Carnegie started out small. He was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland as a poor boy with only one asset- parents that could read and write and encouraged his education. His parents gave him a good education as a boy but when he was 13 they were determined to go to America to better educate him. Although he didn’t get a high school degree, he was educated well by his parents and himself. During his education he learned economic and social skills with his job on the Pennsylvania Railroad. I think this is important because this taught him how to work with others and how to succeed in the business world. When he was 26 he got a job as a telegraph operator working as the right hand man to the Secretary of War in charge of telegraph operations during the Civil War. He used this discipline later in live when he competed in the steel business.

After the Civil War he pursued wealth as an entrepreneur and sold many products in many diverse fields. Although that was an important step in his life it was not as important as what he decided in 1870. He decided to specialize in the steel business and erected his first blast furnace in 1870. This would impact him positively for the rest of his life and was the key to him acquiring all the wealth he could. By 1873 he was doing well so he specialized in the Bessemer steel business. By the 1880’s he was doing so well that he took over the Keystone Ridge company and by 1900 he was acquiring 40 million dollars a year. This is important because, along with his generosity, he was able to donate his money later in life.

Business was not his entire life however. He had a rich life personal life and was as good a husband and father as he was a business man. He married Louise Whitfield in 1887 and had their daughter Margaret in 1892. After his retirement in 1901 he focused on donating his money, almost 500 million dollars to education. Through his help, over 3,000 libraries in the U.S. and 250 libraries in the U.K. were opened. Andrew Carnegie sets himself apart from the rest however as he donated all of his money while others only donate a part. He used the last of his money to buy a summer home in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he died in 1919 almost penniless. This is incredible because it takes a very kind heart to donate all the money they have acquired to a cause that is so noble yet so underrated.

In conclusion, Andrew Carnegie is a hero for his philanthropy. He had courage and determination as noted above. He had courage to go into the steel business with practically no experience as a steel man. He had courage to retire when he was collecting 40 million dollars a year. He also had determination to make the world a better place, which he did with astounding force. His philanthropic actions became a precedent for other wealthy people and poor people alike. This great man changed the philosophy that wealth is designated for the wealthy. His legacy will live on in the hearts that he touched, Forever.

Page created on 2/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

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I go to Del Norte High School and am in 9th grade in Honors English