A “Robber” Baron

Andrew Carnegie is an infamous Robber Baron that made his fortune by providing steel and iron to the railroad companies. A trait he and fellow Robber Barons shared is their ruthlessness in doing business so one would assume that these men are inherently “evil” by nature. This document, written by Andrew Carnegie, discusses what his views on the matter are and he calls it the Gospel of Wealth (1889).

He believed that it is natural that wealth accumulates in the hands of the few but he also strongly believed in giving back to the community. The first sentence of the passage (The problem of our age is the administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship) best sums up his argument. I order to maintain a society, wealth must be constantly redistributed because as more and more of it accumulates in a small percentage of the population, the rest of the people will get angry and frustrated. Carnegie believed that all people should strive to be wealthy enough to support themselves and those dependent on them. The rest of the wealth should belong to the people.

Knowing background information before reading this document is crucial because Carnegie can be portrayed in two very different lights. One might look at him as a scoundrel for putting people out of business while others may see him as a philanthropist that did much more good than harm during his life.

Andrew Carnegie.


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