Carnegie had for some time realized that most of the successful men he had encountered were men with one ambition —money, and with but one talent—the ability to get it.He could not help comparing these business associates with the heroes of his childhood, Uncle Tom Morrison, Uncle George Lauder, and his father, radical Chartists who would discourse at length upon literature, history, politics, and economics.
To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery. Carnegie, however, did not resign business at thirty-five. In February, 1901, Morgan, representing all of those interests in steel products and railroads that were threatened by Carnegie’s ever-expanding empire, offered to buy Carnegie Steel and quickly accepted Carnegie’s price of $480,000,000.
For the next thirty-two years he continued to “push inordinately,” and by 1900 he had built a steel empire so vast and so independently powerful that it endangered even the complex, interlocking financial world of J. Paying a visit to Carnegie’s home, Morgan shook the Scotsman’s hand and said, “Mr.
With all the introspection of a Jonathan Edwards or a John Knox, he took a hard, unpitying look at himself.
Then he wrote down another kind of balance sheet to accompany his statement of business holdings: Man must have an idol—The amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolitary [sic]. Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately therefor should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character.
The end of the year for a Scottish Calvinist is a time for sober reflection, for pondering upon man’s sinful frailty and God’s awesome majesty.
Carnegie had, to be sure, never accepted the Calvinist view of either man or God, but the ethos of Scotland was bred into him. Professor Nasaw’s most recent publication is which was awarded the Bancroft Prize for History, the J. Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center and the current president of the Society of American Historians.I don’t see it needs the same principles as acquisition—but it needs some of these.Tenacity and steady sailing to the haven we clear for—supreme confidence in one’s own ideas, or conclusions rather, after thought —and above all, placing use above popularity.” These were qualities of character with which Carnegie had proved himself to be well endowed, but he also showed a quality of capriciousness that often made his philanthropic gestures—or lack of them—an enigma to those soliciting him for aid.Of the three, the least desirable both for society and for the individual was the first, and on this point Carnegie gave his oft-repeated homily on the evils of inherited wealth.The wife and daughters should be provided with moderate sources of income, he believed, but as for the sons, he felt that “The thoughtful man must shortly say, ‘I would as soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar,’ and admit to himself that it is not the welfare of the children, but family pride, which inspires the legacies.” The second alternative, while socially more responsible, is frequently thwarted by disappointed heirs contesting the will, he wrote.Even when a philanthropic bequest is successfully carried out, “it may be said that this is only a means for the disposal of wealth, provided a man is content to wait until he is dead before he becomes of much good in the world.” Carnegie approved of heavy inheritance taxes, or “death duties,” to ensure society’s reaping some benefits from the accumulation of wealth if either of the first two alternatives was chosen.“There remains, then,” he wrote, “only one mode of using great fortunes; but in this we have the true antidote for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth, the reconciliation of the rich and the poor—a reign of harmony. It is founded upon the present most intense Individualism and …Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Non-Fiction, the Ambassador Book Prize for Biography, and the Sperber Prize for Biography.He was recently interviewed by his alma mater, Bucknell. Selected Publications American Historical Review, American Studies, Boston Globe, Business History Review, Journal of American History, Journal of Social History, London Review of Books, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Nation, New York Times Book Review, Science and Society, Social Policy, Variety, Wall Street Journal and other publications Selected Papers and Invited Lectures (since 1997 only) 10/09 “The Chief and TR,” Theodore Roosevelt Association annual meeting, Tampa, Florida Symposium: Foundations of Modern Philanthropy, Carnegie Corporation of New York 1/09 “On Historical Fiction.” 2009 Key West Literary Conference, Key West, Florida 5/08 Keynote, New York Public Library event to honor Steven Schwarzman 1/08 Arizona Literary Society annual lectures (sponsored by Northern Trust) Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Arizona 12/07 “Let There Be Light,, New-York Historical Society 11/07 First Annual William Simon Lecture, Manhattan Institute, Harvard Club, New York City William Cullen Bryant Lecture, Bryant Library, Roslyn, New York 10/07 Al and Sadye Gartner Honors Lecture, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 4/07 Keynote, “Weekend With History” banquet, New-York Historical Society 5/07 Richard D.