Carnegie And The American Dream
Andrew Carnegie and The American Dream
Many have tried; few have achieved - The American Dream. What is the American Dream? According to Webster the American Dream is the ideal according to which equality of opportunity permits any American to aspire to high attainment and material success.
Andrew Carnegie is the epitome of the American Dream because he is a classic example of rags to riches success story. He seemed to be touched by an angel. No matter what was wrong with the world, Andrew Carnegie was to consistently capitalize on success.
Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1835. “Protected by proud and self-sacrificing parents, Andrew may not have known in these years what real poverty was…”(Wall, Andrew Carnegie)
Andrew Carnegie’s formal education ended after elementary school, the family's respect for books and learning ensured that Carnegie's education would continue throughout his life. Born the son of a weaver, Carnegie’s family suffered the effects of the industrial revolution. The mass production of the new steam looms left countless families out of work. To escape the depression of their hometown his family immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1848.
At the age of thirteen, Carnegie began his new life in America as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory. Through a connection from his uncle, Carnegie was offered a job as a messenger boy and operator for the Telegraph Office. From the promotion of his new job, Carnegie became acquainted with Pittsburgh’s most
While employed by the Telegraph Office Carnegie met Thomas A. Scott, the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who offered him a job. It was while being employed by Scott, that he was given a proposal to invest in the Adams Express Company. Carnegie was able to convince his mother to mortgage their home and loan him $500 to begin his first investment.
In 1865 Carnegie left Pennsylvania Railroad after 12 years to concentrate on his own businesses, the first being the Keystone Bridge Company, which made iron and steel. Carnegie surrounded himself with intelligent advisors, made heavy investments in new equipment, and maintained his ownership stake in all his enterprises, enabling him to exponentially increase his wealth.
During his trips to business trips Carnegie he came to meet steel-makers. At about age 38, he began concentrating on steel, founding the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works near Pittsburgh, which would eventually evolve into the Carnegie Steel Company.
In the 1870s Carnegie's new company built the first steel plants in the United States to use the new Bessemer steel-making process, borrowed from Britain. “By close scrutiny of their process and through conversations with them, he had come to a number of conclusions. To continue as a maker of iron products, it was important to start by making pig iron… If he was to remain in and expand his iron industries, he had to get out of everything else- his diversified security holdings, his bonds promotions, his acting as an intermediary between companies needing funds and the foreign investment bankers.” (Hacker, World of Andrew Carnegie)
Other innovations followed, including detailed cost- and production-accounting procedures that enabled the company to achieve greater efficiencies than any other manufacturing industry of the time. Any technological innovation that could reduce the cost of making steel was speedily adopted, and in the 1890s Carnegie's mills introduced the basic ‘open-hearth furnace’ into American steel making.
Carnegie also obtained greater efficiency by purchasing the coke fields and iron-ore deposits that furnished the raw materials for steel making, as well as the ships and railroads that transported these supplies to his mills. Carnegie also recruited extremely capable secondary people to work for him, including the administrator Henry Clay Frick, the steel master and inventor Captain Bill Jones, and his own brother Thomas M. Carnegie. “To be close to steel marketing centers, he moved to New York City and built a mansion on Fifth Avenue. He left daily decisions to employees and wrote books and magazine articles. In one article he expressed the view that rich people have a duty to spend their wealth for the welfare of the community. It was an unusual idea, and some journalists made fun of his opinion.” (Karwatka, America’s Steel Giant) In 1901, The Carnegie Steel Company