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Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business…

Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business

by Harold C. Livesay

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The general scope throughout the biography of Andrew Carnegie was not only the story of his life, but about the things he did along the way and a detailed explanation of the choices he made that led to his great wealth and success. While, obviously, the main topic and reason behind the writing of the book is Carnegie, there was intricate detail given about the advent of machines in the business world, the uprising of the railroad and telegraph, and on up to the business and steel-producing methods he followed later in life. It provided a general lesson in history that pertained to Carnegie’s life during the particular time periods mixed in between along with the growth and wealth of early America.

Harold C. Livesay had quite a challenge researching and gathering information for this biography of Andrew Carnegie. There was so much history involved as well as a number of aspects of industry and business to be researched. He not only had to access information on Andrew Carnegie and his life but the history of early America as well. To cover all of the success of Carnegie he had to use such sources as The Railroads: The Nationalists First Big Business by Alfred

Perhaps more than any other entrepreneur, the one that has come to most symbolize the process of industrialization and the rise of big business in America is none other than Andrew Carnegie. Born in Scotland when the United Kingdom was in the early phase of its own industrialization, Andrew Carnegie came to the United States at a time that would prove to be rife with opportunity for the ambitious young entrepreneur.

His first job was at a textile mill, but the U.S. was still in the very early stages of industrialization at the time; operations remained largely rural and very small scale. Andrew Carnegie would be the one to help change all of that. Indeed, Andrew Carnegie would soon be playing a significant role in the industrial growth of his new country.

From the textile industry, the young Scot moved to the telegraph office and later to the railroads. Each position would serve its own vital role in altering the way the budding entrepreneur would think about business. They introduced him to ever-changing forms of communication and technology, and he was able to witness the beginning of the expansion of scale of industry.

Soon, Andrew Carnegie was applying everything he had learned in his early years about communications and transportation to the steel industry. It would be here that he would make his fortune, becoming one of the richest men in the world. The formation of Carnegie Steel in the late 1880s came to symbolize the rise of big business. In fact, by 1889, output of steel from the United States exceeded that of the United Kingdom, thanks in large part to the work of Andrew Carnegie.

In 1901, he turned 65. He had created his empire and was now considering retirement. However, his role in the rise of big business was not yet over. American banker John Pierpont Morgan had long admired the success of the steel magnate and wanted to get a piece of the action. In March of that year, Morgan and Carnegie finalized negotiations for the creation of the United States Steel Corporation, the merger of Carnegie’s operations with Morgan’s holdings in the Federal Steel Company. At the time, the newly founded U.S. Steel was the largest corporation in the world.

For his role in the rise of big business in the U.S., Andrew Carnegie became the second richest person in the world at the time, second only to John D. Rockefeller. When he retired, he might have left the business world, but he was by no means down and out. Andrew Carnegie would spend his time right up until his death in 1919 becoming one of the most famous and generous philanthropists, giving away almost all of the profits he had accumulated over his career. Andrew Carnegie had been instrumental in the rise of big business and the establishment of the foundations of American economic power that continue to exist today.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0321432878, Paperback)

In this biography, author and scholar Harold C. Livesay examines the life and legacy of Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest captains of industry and philanthropists in the history of the United States.


Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each of the titles in the Library of American Biography Series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:28 -0400)

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