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Andrew Carnegie became one of the wealthiest men in the entire world, primarily due to his steel company. He lived from 1835 to 1919, and his industry grew in the time of the Gilded Age, a period marked by industrial and economic growth. Carnegie had many different attributes, making it difficult for historians to characterize him. Some argue that he was a robber baron (someone who uses immoral techniques to gain wealth), a philanthropist (someone who donates money for the good of others), or a captain of industry (someone who becomes very rich through business). While aspects of the robber baron and philanthropist characterizations are true, Carnegie was a successful businessman first and foremost. Carnegie was an intelligent and consequentialist …show more content…
He made his successful workers into his partners, as "[n]othing delighted Carnegie more than to see the man whom he had lifted from a puddler's furnace develop into a millionaire." This motivation likely stemmed from his own poor upbringing and success in life. In his essay titled "Gospel of Wealth," Carnegie encouraged wealthy people to give money to the public and suggested seven fields in which to invest the money. In another essay, called "The Advantages of Poverty," he provided insight into one of his motivations for philanthropy, by claiming wealthy philanthropists can "find refuge from self-questioning in the thought of the much greater portion of their means which is being spent on others." Carnegie also believed that when his mind was solely preoccupied with making the largest possible amount of money as quickly as possible, he was "degrad[ing himself] beyond hope of permanent recovery." Carnegie was particularly interested in giving libraries to various towns, but this quickly became a business-like gift. First, there was an application process the town had to go through. Then, only gifting the building of the library, Carnegie would demand that the town collect taxes to pay for the books and maintain the library (which usually cost every year about 10% of the amount of money Carnegie donated). However, Carnegie's library-giving had a pattern. After he broke up the union in Braddock, he gifted that town a library. In a response to a letter from Homestead asking for a gift, he replied if "Homestead would only do something for him, he would be pleased to build a library there." Towns were so afraid that libraries signified their destruction that 225 towns refused Carnegie's offer of a library, as "his offer was more threat than promise. Indeed, they could expect to pay a heavy

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