Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business written by Harold C. Livesay are historically significant to its time period the industrial revolution. Both Carnegie and his business left a permanent imprint that will be forever remembered. Three ways that he was significant was he symbolized rags to riches theme; he revolutionized the steel industry, and was a philanthropist. .
Prior to the Civil War manufacturers had focused on producing textiles, clothing, and leather goods, or processing agricultural and natural resources like grain, hogs, or lumber. After the Civil War these industries remained important but heavy industry became the main industry and it took off. Economic growth was driven by capital goods such as farm machinery, factory equipment, and railroad tracks. Due to the new advancements in technology it revolutionized production and lead to the rise of the steel industry. (Pg. 468,nash).
Andrew Carnegie the man behind the steel industry started from the bottom as an immigrant from Scotland and proved with hard work, determination and a little luck anything was possible. Americans aspired to do what he had accomplished and gave them hope feeling that they could also do it. If anyone person fits the rags to riches theme it is Andrew Carnegie, he was almost a caricature of the Horatio Alger figure. "Carnegie was a capitalist and viewed money as something to use to make more money, not as something to spend; its value depends on what it will earn, not on what it will buy." (Pg.55,livesay) He emigrated to the U.S. in 1848 and settled in Pittsburgh working as a bobbin boy in a textile mill, earning $1.20 a week. He went to school at night and read history and classics on weekends. At his retirement he would be worth $111 billion converted to today's currency. Every American wanted to go from rags to riches unfortunately not every American could; there was not enough room for a world full of billionaires.