Andrew Carnegie: The 3 Things That Made Him A Business Hero

Carnegie business hero, group photo
BornNovember 25, 1835
DiedAugust 11, 1919
Famous Quote“You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb a little himself.”
Known ForRevolutionizing the U.S steel industry, massive donations for the public good.
Region of WordUnited States, 19th and early 20th century.
Further ReadingJohn Rockefeller: The 1 Main Thing That Made Rockefeller Rich

Andrew Carnegie, a business hero, lived during the progressive era in the United States. A time when both society and the economy were recovering from the American Civil War.

Carnegie would emigrate from Scotland to the United States in 1848 at the age of 12. Over the course of his life, Andrew Carnegie would work his way up from rags to becoming at one point the richest man in the United States.

However, what truly set Andrew Carnegie apart from the rest of the business elite of the 19th century was his ethics and morals which he applied to his everyday life.

Today we remember Andrew Carnegie as a business hero for 3 things. First, was his establishment of over 3000 libraries. Second, was his funding of the arts and sciences. Third, was his never-ending contribution towards world peace.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 things that made Andrew Carnegie a business hero.

Establishing 3,000 Libraries Made Carnegie a Hero

Carnegie business hero, libraries

Andrew Carnegie was a self-made businessman. He was born into a poor 19th-century Scottish immigrant family.

From an early age, Carnegie’s mother introduced him to the writings of famous historians and philosophers. This would come to drastically influence his worldview.

Upon arriving in the United States, at the age of 12, Andrew Carnegie would work odd jobs such as a telegraph operator and bobbin boy at a local wool mill.

What set Carnegie apart at a young age was his business sense and ability to spot a good investment. By the time he was 30, Andrew Carnegie held considerable investments in the U.S railroad industry.

This would eventually lead to Carnegie founding the world’s largest steel monopoly company.

Eventually, once Carnegie retired he would begin to donate nearly all of his wealth back to society. Today we remember him as a business hero because he recognized the importance of knowledge and gave it back to society.

Starting in 1908 Carnegie would begin to build libraries across the U.S and Britain. In total Carnegie would construct around 3,000 libraries before his death in 1920.

This makes him a business hero. He took nearly all of his wealth and gave it back to society after he retired. From this, the people of Britain and the United States gained the ability to educate themselves and pursue the same wealth Andrew Carnegie did.

Funding the Arts and Sciences Made Carnegie a Hero

The arts and Carnegie

One of the main reasons Carnegie is considered a hero is his massive donations to fund both the sciences and the arts.

Before his time this was largely unheard of. Most public universities simply did not receive funding and as such little research was performed.

In 1900 Andrew Carnegie donated $2 million to create what would become the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

After this Carnegie would donate $10 million dollars to build the Hooker Telescope outside Los Angeles. It would be here that scientists would discover the Universe is expanding and that dark matter existed.

Carnegie was appalled at the treatment of African Americans after the Civil War and as such became a primary benefactor of the Tuskegee Institute along with helping to create the National Negro Business League to give disenfranchised African Americans a chance at creating their own businesses.

Toward the end of his life, Andrew Carnegie came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t be able to give all his wealth away before he died.

Shortly before he died Carnegie would found the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This trust was created to help fund education at first in the United States but now has grown to the entire world.

Today we remember Andrew Carnegie as a hero because he gave away his entire wealth to benefit society to fund the arts and sciences. Without Carnegie it’s doubtful that several of the most important discoveries in the past century would have been made.

Contributing Towards World Peace and Stability Makes Carnegie a Hero

Carnegies contribution towards world stability

The main reason we remember Andrew Carnegie as a hero is not because of his business success but rather his writings and near-constant effort towards uniting people.

Andrew Carnegie lived during a time of Empire across the world. He himself was a staunch anti-imperialist who routinely donated to people to help them secure their own liberty and freedom.

For example, when the United States purchased the Philippines from Spain for $20 million Andrew Carnegie offered to give the Philippines $20 million to buy their own liberation from the United States.

More than anything else Carnegie believed that everyone should be free to do what they wish whenever they wanted to. Further, he recognized that not everyone wanted to be rich. From this Carnegie wrote his most famous article titled “The Gospel of Wealth.”

In this article, Carnegie argued that any super-successful industrial person should have two parts to their life.

First, is the accumulation of wealth from business. Here this person should work every day to make a product or service better.

Second, this person should eventually retire and use their wealth to make society better. Further, Carnegie believed that by the time that person died all of their wealth should have been donated to help society.

Andrew Carnegie lived and breathed this philosophy. After selling his steel company he would give away nearly all of his wealth to benefit people across the globe.

Because of this, we remember Andrew Carnegie as a business hero.


There you have it; an entire article that goes over the 3 things that made Andrew Carnegie a business hero.

Andrew Carnegie lived during a time of great economic growth in the United States. He could have simply hoarded his wealth and retired into obscurity. However, he started a trend of philanthropy that continues up to this day.

My name is Nick, and I am the owner of The History Ace. I strive to publish the best history articles on the web. If you liked this type of content feel free to sign up for the newsletter and share around the internet.

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