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Andrew Carnegie is the true description of life from rags to riches. Having emigrated from Scotland, he started his career at the Western Union where he worked as a messenger. He would soon move on to a textile factory where he worked as a bobbin. Based on hard work and determination, Carnegie rose above the ranks to become a reputable industrialist in the United States. His ambitions saw him open Carnegie Steel which would, later on, be branded as U.S. Steel when JP Morgan bought it.
Besides being a reputable businessperson, he had well-established roots in writing, publishing The Gospel of Wealth, and Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. He also published an essay in The North American Review in 1889 where he insisted on the need for industrialists to take on charitable courses while at the same time justifying laissez-faire capitalism. Andrew Carnegie was enlisted into the Army during the United States civil war. However, instead of serving, he chose to pay another man $850. This was a common practice at that time.
Andrew Carnegie was born into poverty on November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Scotland. He was the second born to a mother Margaret and a handloom weaving father. The family immigrated to America in 1848 looking for greener pastures. They settled at Allegheny Pennsylvania, which is now a part of Pittsburgh. Andrew’s departure from Scotland marked the end of his formal education. He was soon employed as a bobbin boy at a cotton factory where he earned $1.20 per week.
Career progression and business
Through his hard work and ambition, Carnegie shifted from one job to another, the most life-changing being the one as a telegraph operator at Pennsylvania Railroad. He would soon become the railroad division superintendent in 1859 which gave him the chance to invest in a variety of businesses like iron, coal, and oil companies.
He left the position in 1865 and continued with his zeal to ascend the business world, particularly to grow Keystone Bridge Company. His entry into business seems to have been perfectly aligned with the rapid expansion of the U.S. railroad industry. Through unwavering investment, his ventures grew and by the time he was in his 30s, he was a very wealthy man.
American steel industry
In the 1870s, Carnegie saw it was time to take advantage of the American steel industry and began his own company. For a couple of decades, he focused on creating a steel empire, maximizing profits, and getting rid of inefficiencies. By 1892, he consolidated all his holdings into Carnegie Steel Company.
He later sold Carnegie Steel Company to JP Morgan at the start of the 19th century. The sale made him $480 million, securing his position as the richest man of his age. Morgan was on a steady course to dominate America’s industrial sector, forming a billion-dollar corporation.
Even though he was a revered businessman, Carnegie was never a fan of wealth. In fact, he always held that the rich dies disgraced because much of their focus was on making money rather than living life. He advocated for the corporate sector to participate more in charitable courses.
History positions Carnegie as one of the most charitable wealthy men. His philanthropic deeds stretch from the Carnegie Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University, and public libraries. The Carnegie Institution became the true depiction of what it means to be philanthropic. He eventually gave away about $350 million, which dominated a bigger part of his wealth. This characterized his belief that a man who dies without giving to society hasn’t lived.
Andrew Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, at the age of 83. His memory lives on through the industrial sector as well as charity causes like the New York City concert venue to which he had donated $1.1 million.