8 March 2015
Born in 1835, in the small coastal town of Dunfermline Scotland, Andrew Carnegie would later become one of the richest men on earth. If alive today, his fortune would be worth an estimated value of $309 billion dollars. Andrew was not born into wealth as one might guess. He was the son of a small business owner, who like many other small business owners, was forced to close their doors because of the rapid industrialization of the textile trade. After his father closed up shop, his family decided to immigrate to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although Carnegie grew up in poverty, he was very interested in learning and he worked very hard. He frequented the library as often as he could but libraries often cost money, something that he had little of. He was once heard saying, “I began to learn what poverty meant.” Fortunately for Carnegie, there was a generous, very rich man named Colonel James Anderson, who allowed local kids to attend his library for free. Carnegie would never forget this man’s generosity. After his family immigration to Pittsburgh, Carnegie held many jobs. The most influential job, which would ultimately shape his future, would be his job at The Pennsylvania Railroad Company. A man named Thomas A. Scott, took Carnegie under his wing, and introduced him to the Steel business. After years of learning, combined with his strong desire for wealth, Carnegie used his abilities along with the Bessemer process to fulfill his career. The Bessemer process, named after its’ developer, Henry Bessemer, was the process of making steel from iron ore. Due to this incredible development, Carnegie’s business was underway! Carnegie was responsible for producing nearly all steel that was manufactured. He did this by using vertical and horizontal integration which created a monopoly. He was now on top of the world, as the richest man, with an enormous business. Carnegie was concerned about the environment he was raised in, and also with other causes. So, in 1901, at the age of 66, he retired in order to pursue his philanthropist interests. Imagine being the richest man on earth, but then giving nearly all your money away. Carnegie was dedicated to making the world a better place using his wealth. He believed in the “Gospel of Wealth,” which meant that wealthy people were morally obligated to give their money back to others in society. Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution to fund scientific research. He had also established the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which houses the World Court, in the Netherlands. Carnegie also supported education by giving money to towns to build more than 2,000 public libraries (he never forgot Colonel James Anderson’s generosity). By 1922, Carnegie had given away ninety percent of his wealth. Carnegie’s childhood played a huge part in shaping his morals and philosophies. Being raised in a poverty stricken society, he knew what it felt like to be needy. He also knew what it was like to be given a chance because of someone’s generosity. Because of this, Carnegie was determined to be wealthy and then give back to the society. Carnegie was the richest man in the world and because of his overwhelming generosity, he became one of the most caring, charitable philanthropists of all time!
Samuel Gompers Samuel Gompers was born in London, England in 1850. He was born into a very poor family. They were not even considered middle class. His father was a cigar maker, a trade that paid very low wages. He grew up in a family of seven who lived in a one room apartment. In order to contribute to the family’s yearly income, at age 10, Samuel had to discontinue his education and go to work to help support his family. The economy in the 1860’s was very poor, and thus the Gompers family had chosen to immigrate to America, and settle in New York City. Gompers’ family had to borrow money just to get on the…