Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Eleanor Roosevelt Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
People & Events
Andrew Carnegie Preaches the Gospel of Wealth


Andrew Carnegie Preaches the Gospel of Wealth Andrew Carnegie, having already amassed millions as an extraordinarily successful industrialist, turned his attention in 1900 to matters of politics and philanthropy. Carnegie was part of a small but highly vocal group who opposed what they saw as a growing impulse toward imperialism in US foreign policy, especially in the case of the US's war against the Filipinos. Carnegie taunted the advocates of President William McKinley's war policy by asking, "Is it possible that the American Republic is to be placed in the position of the suppressor of the Philippine struggle for independence?" He then went so far as to offer to buy the island nation from the US for $20 million in order to grant its citizens complete independence. His offer was refused.

Carnegie's proclaimed regard for the betterment of man may have struck those familiar with his dealings with his own employees as rather out of character. As the founder of Carnegie Steel Company, the Scottish native displayed a brilliance in business affairs and little regard for the concerns of those who worked for him. When workers at his Homestead Steel Works went out on strike in 1892, a violent confrontation with company-hired thugs ensued. Carnegie, out of the country at the time of the strike, did nothing to stem the violence and never recognized the legitimacy of labor unions.

By the turn of the century, however, Carnegie was out of the steel business. He sold Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan and turned his full attention to philanthropy. In all he gave away 350 million dollars. In 1900 he published a collection of his writings entitled, "The Gospel of Wealth." Among the musings to be found in that collection was his opinion that "the man who dies rich, dies disgraced."
related Links
Andrew Carnegie, The Richest Man in the World
previous | return to people & events list | next

The Film & More | Special Feature | Timeline | Maps | People & Events| Teacher's Guide