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Andrew Carnegie

5 Pages 1223 Words

One of the captains of industry of 19th century America, Andrew Carnegie helped build
the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one
of the richest entrepreneurs of his age. Later in his life, Carnegie sold his steel
business and systematically gave his collected fortune away to cultural, educational
and scientific institutions for "the improvement of mankind."

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, the medieval capital of Scotland, in 1835. The town
was a center of the linen industry, and Andrew's father was a weaver, a profession the
young Carnegie was expected to follow. But the industrial revolution that would later
make Carnegie the richest man in the world, destroyed the weavers' craft. When the steam-
powered looms came to Dunfermline in 1847 hundreds of hand loom weavers became
expendable. Andrew's mother went to work to support the family, opening a small grocery
shop and mending shoes.

"I began to learn what poverty meant," Andrew would later write. "It was burnt into my
heart then that my father had to beg for work. And then and there came the resolve that
I would cure that when I got to be a man."

An ambition for riches would mark Carnegie's path in life. However, a belief in political
egalitarianism was another ambition he inherited from his family. Andrew's father, his
grandfather Tom Morrison and his uncle Tom Jr. were all Scottish radicals who fought to
do away with inherited privilege and to bring about the rights of common workers.

But Andrew's mother, fearing for the survival of her family, pushed the family to leave
the poverty of Scotland for the possibilities in America. She borrowed 20 pounds she
needed to pay the fare for the Atlantic passage and in 1848 the Carnegies joined two of
Margaret's sisters in Pittsburgh, then a sooty city that was the iron-manufacturing
center of the country.

William Carnegie secured work in a cott...

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