The Many Faces of Andrew Carnegie

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The Many Faces of Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie was the ultimate microcosm of American culture. He was the definitive rags to riches story in which he turned himself from a poor Scottish immigrant, to the second wealthiest man in the country. He wore many "hats" in his extensive life, which was reflected in the various perceptions of his biographers. Many of Carnegie's philosophies which he claimed to believe in and preach throughout the world were not followed personally in many instances in his life. This is a prime example that you cannot judge a person on a single action, you must look at the entire picture and look at that person's actions over a broader time frame.

Carnegie's Early Life (1835-1850)

Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland on November 25, 1835. Although his family lived in poverty, they made sure that Andrew grew up in a cultured environment.

His father, William Carnegie, a hand loom weaver, always made sure that young Andrew realized the importance of education, as he used as much of his resources as possible to ensure that his children were educated. Along with his father and family, Andrew also was influenced by Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy Livesay, Harold C. Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1975. pp.8-10.


During the 1840's, the factory system of weaving materials in mills which were powered by steam engines took over and William was out of work. William chose to immigrate to the United States after being persuaded by his wife, so they sold whatever possessions they had for little money and sailed over the Atlantic to their new home Livesay, pp. 22-24..

Carnegie's Beginning in the Working World (1850-1860)

They settled...