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Andrew Carnegie And The Rise Of Big Business

795 words - 4 pages

In Harold C. Livesay’s Andrew Carnegie and the rise of Big Business, Andrew Carnegie’s struggles and desires throughout his life are formed into different challenges of being the influential leader of the United States of America. The book also covers the belief of the American Dream in that people can climb up the ladder of society by hard work and the dream of becoming an influential citizen, just as Carnegie did.
The biography begins when the impoverished Carnegie family leaves their home in Scotland having been replaced by machines in the Industrial Revolution. People started sailing to America because their “old home no longer promised anything at all” (Livesay 14). They end up earning twice as much as they did in Scotland with their son Tom in school, the parents Margaret and Will shoe-binding, and Andrew working as a bobbin boy. Money earned without work was an opening to corruption in the eyes of a Republican nation and it was also assumed that hereditary wealth had caused the decline of Europe (Lena). Carnegie soon rises from poor bobbin boy to railroad superintendent, all the way to manager at the Pennsylvania Railroad. "I have made millions since, Carnegie later claimed, but none of these gave me so much happiness as my first week's earnings. I was now a helper of the family, a bread winner” (16). The background exposition on his family became crucial to understanding Carnegie’s drive to succeed. Livesay also fluently demonstrates the various professional relationships Carnegie develops throughout his life and how they affect his career. When his first investment pays a profit of $10, Carnegie discovers a whole new world of earning money from the capital. In 1865, he establishes his own business enterprises and eventually organizes the Carnegie Steel Company in Pittsburgh. At age 65, he sells his company to J.P. Morgan for $480 million. Livesay writes in describing the moment, "He had made it. Carnegie had fulfilled the American Dream in its fullest glory--poor immigrant boy to richest man in the world." He then devoted his life to humanitarian activities and writing. He gave away his fortune through numerous personal gifts and the establishment of various trusts. Carnegie’s three “shrines of harmony” were the Palace of Peace at The Hague, the Pan-American Union Building in Washington, D.C., and the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica. All three...

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