Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business / Edition 2

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Overview

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. This best-selling biography offers students a lively and compelling portrait of one of the twentieth century's greatest businessmen, while providing an avenue for exploring industrialism, capitalism, and the foundations of big business. Andrew Carnegie, The Gilded Age, Industrialism, Capitalism, American Steel, Carnegie Steel Company, Pennsylvania Railroad, Pittsburgh, Readers interested in Andrew Carnegie and American Industrialism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321043733
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 9/21/1999
  • Series: Library of American Biography
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 4.95 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Editor's Preface

The term "industrial revolution" has become a catch phrase that obscures rather than clarifies. All too often it conveys the impression that the economic process which transformed the modern world began with an event at some point in eighteenthcentury England, from which all subsequent consequences proceeded smoothly and continuously.

The actuality was far more complex. The basic changes stretched over two hundred years and are not yet over. They involved not only the new technology of machines, but also profound alterations in the organization of work and in habits of the mind.

Andrew Carnegie exemplified one phase of the change. He arrived in the United States at a crucial moment in its development. When the small boy Andy and his family left Scotland, British industrialization was well underway; indeed, their migration resulted from one of its unexpected consequences. When the Carnegies reached Pittsburgh, Americans had already begun to move in the same direction; the founding of the early manufacturing mills at Lowell, Massachusetts, was decades past. Significantly, Carnegie's first job was as a bobbin boy in a textile mill. But both countries had taken only the first hesitant steps in industrialization. Manufacturing was still primarily a rural activity and still small in scale.

Carnegie was involved in reorganizing the whole pattern of industrial activity. Early in his career he changed jobs, moving from textiles to the telegraph office and then to the railroads. Those shifts were symbolic insofar as they brought him into contact with the dynamic forces that were altering communications and were creating large regionaleconomic units to replace the earlier, small ones. Much of what he learned about communications and transportation he later ingeniously adapted to the steel industry.

Carnegie also exemplified the habits of mind important at one stage of industrial development. He was a Scot, a fact most clearly manifest in the ethnic links that helped at each point in his career. He showed the capacity to use capital and technicians well, not in a speculative or an exploitive fashion, but to create wealth. That he remained apart from the corporate developments commonly associated with the closing decade of the nineteenth century-as, indeed, did his contemporary Andrew W. Melton-was not an accident. When he finally sold out to United States Steel, he closed his own career and also the stage of development in which he had actively participated. By then, however, as Harold C. Livesay's book shows, Carnegie had helped to establish the foundations of American economic power.

Oscar Handlin

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Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
Acknowledgments
I Flying Scots: In Search of a Dream 3
II The Climb Begins 17
III The Apprentice Manager 35
IV The Apprentice Financier 53
V The Master Moneyman: A Fortune in Paper 69
VI The Master Builder: A Foundation of Iron 87
VII The Master Builder: A Structure of Steel 103
VIII The Master Manager: Costs, Chemistry, and Coke 121
IX Triumph and Tragedy 145
X Carnegie Challenges the World 163
XI The Climb Ends 187
Epilogue 211
A Note on the Sources 215
Index 221
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Preface

Editor's Preface

The term "industrial revolution" has become a catch phrase that obscures rather than clarifies. All too often it conveys the impression that the economic process which transformed the modern world began with an event at some point in eighteenthcentury England, from which all subsequent consequences proceeded smoothly and continuously.

The actuality was far more complex. The basic changes stretched over two hundred years and are not yet over. They involved not only the new technology of machines, but also profound alterations in the organization of work and in habits of the mind.

Andrew Carnegie exemplified one phase of the change. He arrived in the United States at a crucial moment in its development. When the small boy Andy and his family left Scotland, British industrialization was well underway; indeed, their migration resulted from one of its unexpected consequences. When the Carnegies reached Pittsburgh, Americans had already begun to move in the same direction; the founding of the early manufacturing mills at Lowell, Massachusetts, was decades past. Significantly, Carnegie's first job was as a bobbin boy in a textile mill. But both countries had taken only the first hesitant steps in industrialization. Manufacturing was still primarily a rural activity and still small in scale.

Carnegie was involved in reorganizing the whole pattern of industrial activity. Early in his career he changed jobs, moving from textiles to the telegraph office and then to the railroads. Those shifts were symbolic insofar as they brought him into contact with the dynamic forces that were altering communications and were creating large regional economic units to replacethe earlier, small ones. Much of what he learned about communications and transportation he later ingeniously adapted to the steel industry.

Carnegie also exemplified the habits of mind important at one stage of industrial development. He was a Scot, a fact most clearly manifest in the ethnic links that helped at each point in his career. He showed the capacity to use capital and technicians well, not in a speculative or an exploitive fashion, but to create wealth. That he remained apart from the corporate developments commonly associated with the closing decade of the nineteenth century-as, indeed, did his contemporary Andrew W. Melton-was not an accident. When he finally sold out to United States Steel, he closed his own career and also the stage of development in which he had actively participated. By then, however, as Harold C. Livesay's book shows, Carnegie had helped to establish the foundations of American economic power.

Oscar Handlin

Read More Show Less

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