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Discourse: The Great Inequality Debate. Conclusion: Precarity. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction This book analyses the discourse generated by pundits, politicians, and artists to examine how poverty and the income gap is framed through specific modes of representation. Major newspapers poked fun at his "Bored of Speling," and he finally abandoned the cause in with the onset of World War I —18; a war in which Great Britain , France, the United States and their allies defeated Germany, Austria-Hungary, and their allies and more pressing concerns.
In his own correspondence, however, Carnegie continued to use it, even in his last will and testament.
Some of the simplified spellings advocated by the board did eventually become standard. For example program replaced the more old-fashioned programme , and labor became the preferred American version of the British word labour. Carnegie did not marry until , when he was fifty-one years old. His spare time was spent at Skibo Castle in Scotland, which he bought in as a vacation retreat for his wife, Louise, and their daughter, Margaret, born that same year.
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He spent the next twenty years of his life as one of history's most generous philanthropists. The arts, education, and public libraries were his passions, and he built Carnegie Hall, the famed concert hall in New York City. His generosity was responsible for the building and stocking of some 2, public libraries in the United States and Great Britain. The Carnegie Corporation of New York , established by Carnegie in , was still making financial grants to worthy people and causes in the early twenty-first century. Carnegie died on August 11, , at his Lenox, Massachusetts, estate known as Shadowbrook.
He was survived by his wife Louise and daughter Margaret. Wren, Daniel A. Reference Library. The Scottish-born American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was one of the first "captains of industry. Andrew Carnegie typified those characteristics of business enterprise and innovation that changed the United States from an agricultural and commercial nation to the greatest industrial nation in the world in a single generation—between and The era has sometimes been called the "Age of the Robber Barons" on the assumption that because no public regulation or direction existed large fortunes were built by unprincipled men who corrupted officialdom, despoiled the country's natural resources, and exploited its farmers and laborers.
Surely, there were some men who manipulated the corporate securities of the companies they controlled in the stockmarket for their own gain, but the only victims were their fellow speculators. The entrepreneurs of the period not only built and modernized industry, but because they were technologically minded, they increased the productivity of labor in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and railroading. As a result, the real wages of workers and the real wealth of farmers went up sharply.
In all this, Carnegie was a pacesetter. He was a stiff competitor; plowing back company earnings into new plants, equipment, and methods, he could lower prices and expand markets for steel products. In years of recession and depression he kept running his plants, undercutting competitors, and assuring employment for his workers. These 19th-century entrepreneurs were successful in a dog-eat-dog world for several reasons.
Government followed a hands-off policy: it did not regulate; it also did not tax. Government had not yet made commitments to social justice, protection of the poor, or more equitable distribution of the national product. At the same time, the customs, attitudes, and sanctions of the period—and the law writers, courts, economists, Protestant clergy, and even the trade unionists affiliated with the American Federation of Labor— accepted the unequal distribution of wealth.
In fact, success in the marketplace was equated with the virtues of hard work, thrift, sobriety, and even godliness. It was in this kind of world that Carnegie, a man of boundless imagination and great organizational skills, built his companies and made steel efficiently and cheaply. He fought competitors and also efforts at market and price controls by the mergers and oligopolies that began to appear in the s.
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Because he was successful, he had to be bought off: this was the origin of the U. Steel Corporation in , the greatest merger of the era; and it was the end of Carnegie's career as a steel-master. But it was not his end as a citizen, for he closely followed national and international developments, particularly the search for world peace, and expressed himself forcefully in writings and before legislative committees on questions of the day; and he helped lay plans for the organizations he set up to use his very large endowments.
Carnegie was born on Nov. It was a time of ferment in Scotland as machine looms displaced skilled cottage workers like Carnegie's father, and social and political inequalities radicalized such humble craftsmen. Because they lived in a caste-ridden society, agitations for reform were unsuccessful. When he came to contrast Britain with America in his Triumphant Democracy , Carnegie said, "it is not to be wondered at that, nursed amid such surroundings, I developed into a violent young Republican whose motto was 'death to privilege. In the family moved to the United States , settling in Allegheny City, across the river from Pittsburgh.
The fierce desire to rise and to help take care of the family he was soon its chief support for the father died in pushed Andrew to educate himself and to learn a craft. He became an indefatigable reader, a theatergoer who knew his Shakespeare so well he could recite whole scenes, and a lover of music with a cultivated taste. At the age of 14 Carnegie became a messenger boy in the Pittsburgh telegraph office, and 2 years later a telegraph operator.
So quickly did he improve himself that at 18 Thomas A. Carnegie stayed with the Pennsylvania Railroad until , by which time he was a young man of real means. During the Civil War , when Scott was named assistant secretary of war in charge of transportation, Carnegie went to Washington to act as Scott's right-hand man and to organize the military telegraph system. But Carnegie soon was back in Pittsburgh, succeeding Scott as head of the Pennsylvania's western division.
He was one of the backers of the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company, the original holder of the Pullman patents, and also bought into a successful petroleum company. He became a silent partner in a number of local small iron mills and factories; the most important was the Keystone Bridge Company, formed in , of which he owned a one-fifth share. Between and Carnegie became a self-designated capitalist.
He traveled in and out of England, peddling the bonds of small United States railroads and publicly chartered bridge companies. During this time Carnegie watched the revolutionary changes taking place in the English iron industry as a result of the adoption of the Bessemer converter. Steel, he saw, was bound to replace iron for the manufacture of rails, structural shapes, pipe, wire, and the like. In Carnegie decided that instead of being a "capitalist" with diversified interests he was going to be a steelman exclusively.
Using his own capital, he erected his first blast furnace to make pig iron that year and the second in In he organized a Bessemer-steel rail company, a limited partnership. Depression had set in and would continue until , but Carnegie persisted, using his own funds and getting local bank help. The first steel furnace at Braddock, Pa. Carnegie continued building despite the depression—cutting prices, driving out competitors, shaking off faltering partners, plowing back earnings.
He took in new partners from his own "young men" by , he had 40 ; he never went public, capital being obtained from undivided profits and in periods of stress, from local banks ; and he kept on growing, horizontally and vertically, making heavy steel alone. From onward, Carnegie dominated the steel industry.
In the s Carnegie's two most important acquisitions were his purchase of majority stock in the H. Frick Company with vast coal lands and over coking ovens in Connellsville, Pa. Frick became his partner and, in , chairman of the Carnegie Company. Carnegie had moved to New York City in to be close to the marketing centers for steel products; Frick stayed in Pittsburgh as the general manager.
Frick and Carnegie made an extraordinary team. Carnegie, behind the scenes, planned the expansion moves, installation of cost and chemical controls, and modernization of plants. Frick was the working director who rationalized the mass-production programs necessary to keep prices down. It was Frick who saw that vertical integration was imperative and achieved the company's control by purchase and lease of iron ore mines in the Lake Superior area, linking Carnegie ore ships and railroads with the Pittsburgh complex of furnaces and mills. Carnegie was wise enough to use his leisure for traveling, writing, and expanding his tastes.
His first book, Round the World , was a modest recital of widening horizons. The third, Triumphant Democracy , surveyed the social and economic progress of the United States from to , but woven in was a secondary theme: the contrast between American egalitarianism and the unequal, class societies of Britain and the other European countries. To Carnegie, easy access to education was the key to American democracy's political stability and industrial accomplishments. He said, "Of all its boasts, of all its triumphs, this is at once its proudest and its best. In Carnegie published an important article, "Wealth" republished in England as "The Gospel of Wealth" , in which he held that it was the duty of rich men to get rid of their fortunes, administering them personally for the welfare of the community.
He did not gloss over the inequality of wealth, but he saw wealth as a stewardship to be employed productively, for modern industrialization and mass production had wide social benefits. As a result, he said: "The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries have become the necessities of life.
Carnegie remained a bachelor until his mother died in ; a year later he married Louise Whitfield their only child, Margaret, was born in The couple began to spend 6 months each year in Scotland, but Carnegie kept in close touch with developments and problems in the ramifying Carnegie Company, no minute detail of management escaping his attention. The s presented three serious challenges: two were surmounted, and one left a deep hurt and stained Carnegie's reputation.
The bitter nationwide depression of resulted in plant shutdowns, mass unemployment, and collapsing markets. But the Carnegie Company, by following Carnegie's famous injunction "Take orders and run full," pushed prices down, retained its workers, and made profits.