Industrialization in the United States has brought about a significant change in the lives of individuals and the public. The separation between classes became even more obvious and there have been numerous individuals who proposed reasons for this outcome. Andrew Carnegie and Henry George were both very influential in America but had opposing views regarding industrialization and wealth.
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Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland and moved to the United States with his parents in 1948. In 1850, he started working at the Telegraph and this became the key point in his later success. The work enabled him to make connections with influential businessmen and get to know the industry (Edge 25). From the earliest days at work he has proven to be extremely hard working and skillful.
He would be able to differentiate different sounds of the telegraph which gave him the ability to work faster and more efficiently. He has also shown to have great organizational skills. His imagination filled him with ideas that proved to be very useful later in life. His first business act was in 1855, when he invested 500 dollars into “Adams Express”.
This was made possible by his employer Edgar Thompson who was a great supporter of Andrew Carnegie (Edge 58). It was clearly the first step towards business life and generally, this can be seen as a stepping stone for any individual. At this young age, a person does not have great opportunities to become a large business man and there is no way of stealing or getting money in any other illegal way.
What made this possible were his hard work, determination and connections. It could be said that he happened to be in the right place at the right time. He could not have planned to get involved with the telegraph, just as he had no way of knowing that this would greatly help him in life, and that he would make friends with Edgar Thomas who had such an influence on his later development in business.
While his capital was growing through the investment, he has been continuing work and proving to be a very able worker. This gave way to his movement through to the higher positions and was the result of his success. During the Civil War he had many opportunities to get involved with the business in steel and again, his connections have proven to be very useful.
But he was not only involved in business, he was also a wise man and very much interested in sciences and education in general. His early involvement in the business life of influential people allowed him to get to know the ways of the industry and trade and this was his strong point. When he became the owner of the steel industry, his capital was growing very quickly.
But even though he was very wealthy, the money did not corrupt him and did not ruin his good-hearted nature. His major belief was that wealth was evil if it was idolized and used for personal goals. His motto was to use the money made to better society and help others develop their own skills and abilities. There were very many donations that he has made, as well as supported many libraries, universities and social benefit institutions.
His life is an example of how people should behave if they are given the opportunity to do well. The fact that he was smart, hard-working and determined was given to him by nature. He developed his skills and this was his great characteristic. But also, he was lucky and the environment that he was in helped him prosper.
He was not greedy and had no problem giving away the money to those who needed it. His life started in poverty but he was given the chance to turn it around.
Henry George was born in the United States and was also a very successful and skilful individual. His family was poor and often had to struggle. He dropped out of school at age fourteen and when he was fifteen, he went to sea on a boat called “Hindoo”. After 14 months of sailing he came back to California and started working for a typesetter.
His was an apprentice and would not receive too great of a salary. He got married and had four children and unfortunately, his family also had to deal with poverty. In 1865, he started working for a newspaper. At first he was a printer but later, he got involved in writing and eventually became an editor (George 45). He continued working in the newspaper and this was the changing time in his life.
It is interesting to see that both Andrew Carnegie and Henry George found their calling and talents through direct involvement in their work. Henry George found himself in writing and public speaking and this was exactly what helped himself and his family to get out of poverty. He became very influential after his book “Progress and Poverty” came out (George 316). All his thoughts were directed towards socialism and the division between classes.
His major points were that those with power and land ownership created even more wealth for themselves while the working class had to struggle with poor work conditions, minimal wage and inability to progress in life. His point that land ownership is unfair is very valid because how can something that was not created by humans become owned by them?
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The fact that someone has come to a certain place and proclaimed that the surrounding area and land belong to them, should not mean that they own it. Everyone deserves to have an equal amount of territory to use for their development and work. Henry George was a great advocate for labor safety because many people lost their lives due to extremely bad conditions at their workplace.
His works as a writer and him being a proponent of human rights have become a large part of the movement for better workplace safety and poverty cessation. He considered all wealthy people above the law, believing that they have gained their riches by corruption and illegal activities (George 450).
It is true that many wealthy individuals in the past and present have broken the law to either start out their business or continue its advancement. But clearly, Andrew Carnegie is an example that relates to those who have used legitimate ways to rich success.
Both Henry George and Andrew Carnegie had a great influence on society. It is obvious that people must use their skills to better the world around them and help those with fewer opportunities and ability to have a better life. It is very important to not become the victim of extreme beliefs and find a balance between good and bad.
George, Henry. Life of Henry George. New York, United States: Cosimo, Inc., 2006. Print.
Edge, Laura. Andrew Carnegie. Minneapolis, United States: Twenty-First Century Books, 2004. Print.