Industrialization and Captains of Industry

Start Free Trial

What was a positive contribution of Andrew Carnegie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It can be said that even before he began his philanthropic efforts, Andrew Carnegie was a job creator and stimulator of the American economy. He built Carnegie Steel plants throughout the U.S. and also ran businesses concerned with procuring coal, and transporting through railroads and shipping, both the raw materials needed for manufacturing and delivering finished goods.

After selling Carnegie Steel for hundreds of millions of dollars, Carnegie turned his attention to philanthropy. A notable recipient of his generosity was the New York Public Library. He also founded the technology school that eventually became Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and he funded foundations for advancements in teaching and international peace.

Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth, which espoused his philosophy of how the wealthy can best put their money to use in helping others who have been less successful.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Andrew Carnegie was a multimillionaire steel magnate and a remorseless competitor as a businessman, but he was also a philanthropist who believed that the very wealthy should use their wealth for the benefit of society as a whole. In what he called the "Gospel of Wealth," he argued that the wealthy should, during their lives, administer their wealth in such a way as to benefit society as a whole. Carnegie was self-educated and attributed much of his success to the ability to borrow books from a benefactor in his youth. As a result, much of Carnegie's wealth went to establishing hundreds of public lending libraries around the nation. This, he thought, would allow ambitious, bright people of any social class to educate themselves as he had. Carnegie also donated millions to universities, organizations to promote world peace (he was an anti-imperialist), and financed the construction of Carnegie Hall, a world-renowned center for the performing arts in New York City. So his philanthropic efforts certainly qualify as a positive contribution to society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial