History Assignment Paper on How you explain Carnegie’s rapid rise to wealth

  1. How do you explain A. Carnegie’s rapid rise to wealth? What factors in America permitted this to happen?

Andrew Carnegie established and practiced business activities that resembled monopoly through “vertical integration”, and therefore accumulated wealth for himself. During this time, that is 1860-1900, the economy of America grew by a percentage greater than 400% (from a total national wealth of $16 billion to $88 billion). The factors that fuelled this economic growth included the advancement of technology, enhanced transportation networks, new and innovative business ideas and practices, financial innovation, and the growing American population, which created a high demand for goods and services. With all these changes and opportunities, Andrew Carnegie established monopoly and revolutionized business practices, more so in the steel industry. Since the ideology of Laissez faire that existed at this time encouraged minimum or no involvement of the government in regulating economic activities and affairs, Carnegie maximized his benefits as his fellow unskilled or untrained urban employees could not share his economic milages or gains. As such, Carnegie managed to amass a lot of wealth as little supervision and monopoly of business practices gave him an advantage over other citizens.

  1. What was the Homestead Strike about? What was the Carnegie’s role?

The “Homestead Strike of 1892” was about a conflict between labour and management. At this time, the management of Carnegie Steel Company (belonging to Andrew Carnegie) through the plant manager, Henry Clay Frick, had a serious disagreement with the strongest union in America, Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. A strike that took place in 1889 won the steelworkers a positive 3-year contract, which did not last long. By 1892, Carnegie was determined to break the union and as such directed Mr. Henry Frick (the plant manager) to step up the production or manufacturing demands, which the union members disagreed with. Consequently, Henry Frick began to lock out the labourers of the plant and by the 2nd of July 1892, he managed to discharge all remaining with only expert tradesmen.

This number represented less than 1/5thof the total 3,800 workers  employed in the steel plant. As such, the majority voted tremendously to join the strike, thus the Homestead Strike of 1892. Andrew Carnegie is solely responsible to blame for this strike because he directed Henry Frick to shut down the plant, if the union disagreed with his terms (dissolving the union), until the employees buckled. By so doing, he gave Henry the mandate to manage negotiations in a fraught environment, which was a big mistake because he was the same man responsible for the Johnstown flood. This action is illustrated by his words to Frick stating, “We… approve of anything you do,” which he wrote in a letter from England. “We are with you to the end.” Frick responded by slashing down his worker’s wages, locking them out of the work premise, refusing to negotiate further with the union members, and building a perimeter wall governed by the sheriffs to keep them out, an action which led to the strike. Meanwhile, Carnegie thought his company’s employees would relinquish the union membership with an intention of saving their jobs.

  1. Carnegie once said, “The man who dies rich dies disgraced.” He believed the accumulation of wealth had the potential for enormous evil—unless he gave away his riches. Was he capable of this (giving away his money)? Was he convincing in escaping disgrace? (Keep in mind: Carnegie had one child-a daughter and he did not leave her ANYTHING!) He was a Social Darwinist and profited from the workers.

It is in deed true that Carnegie was capable of giving his money because he sold his steel company and prior to his death in 1919; he had invested some good amount of his fortunes to the society. He gave $350 million, which was almost everything that he had. He gave this to enhance education, culture, science, recognize heroes and heroines, and similarly encourage intercontinental peaceful relations. By doing this, it is true that Carnegie remained faithful to his devotions and gave back what he accumulated from the society. In spite of the fact that he left his daughter nothing, it is imperative to note that Carnegie gave back his wealth for the greater good of the society, and whatever benefits the majority is justified. He is therefore convincing enough to have escaped disgrace because whatever is done in the general will meet the requirements of a social contract. His daughter was part of the society and may have benefited from the education that he invested in.

  1. Why is A. Carnegie important to American history? He represents less than 1% of American society—yet an entire biography is devoted to him. Does he deserve so much attention? Why/why not?

Andrew Carnegie is important to the American history because he left a legacy of giving and goodwill. Since there are few generous donors in the society, he deserves the attention that he is given because the legacy that he left is still partially evident in the generation of generous donors (philanthropists) that followed him centuries after his death. For instance, the recipients of the Carnegie Medal of 2011 still followed his course, which is encouraging.

  1. What was W.E.B Du Bois’ vision for African-Americans? What did he hope to accomplish?

Du Bois was in agreement that the idea of personality, self, or individual improvement was a good one, however, he emphasized that it was not supposed to be implemented and accepted in exchange for surrendering their citizenship or nationality rights straight away. He thought about establishing a group of elite and educated black or African leaders who were supposed to lead the African Americans in protecting their equivalent rights and obtaining higher financial standards. In light of this argument, Du Bois had a vision that all African Americans be accorded equal political and  civil rights, and similarly attain equal social status. He hoped that one day all the African Americans would be allowed to vote and take part in other civic activities and live lives that were almost similar to, if not equal to the white Americans. Seemingly, Du Bois wanted an immediate end to the racial segregation that the African Americans were facing at this time.

  1. Why did Du Bois conflict with other African-American leaders and reformers such as Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey?

Du Bois conflicted with Booker T. Washington because his approach of handling the situation was difficult. While Du Bois demanded for an immediate end to the era of discriminating against the Africans in line with political rights, such as voting, Booker T. Washington argued that the African Americans would better first develop themselves by means of education, business possession, and industrial education (training). Booker thought that his visualization for black Americans would finally lead to them accessing their equal civil and political rights. In light of this argument, it is evidenced that Booker was advising the African Americans to first postpone their instantaneous demands that aimed at ending the racial discrimination and the denunciation of their right to vote. He therefore refutes or disagrees with the Du Bois approach to solving their miseries (Booker T. was using an accommodationist technique to achieve the same goals) Conversely, Marcus Garvey is of the opinion that African Americans would never be considered equal to the white Americans, and more so in the United States. He was of the opinion that African Americans establish their individual detached communities and companies or even travel or migrate back to their motherland, ‘Africa’.

  1. Why did Du Bois eventually become a socialist and move to Ghana, Africa?

After failing to meet his vision, Du Bois became a big supporter of communist, thus qualified to be called a socialist or social activist, and he never again trusted politicians and capitalists, which means he had already given up on the war to establish racial unity. Later on, Du Bois became a chairman of the NAACP, where he kept challenging African leaders against imperialism. As the head of the Peace Information Centre (PIA), Du Bois demanded for the interdiction of atomic weaponry, which led the United States to retaliate by giving an order to him to register as a foreign agent through their Department of Justice. Du bois refused to respect this order, which made the United States Department of Justice to order him being instantaneously indicted in line with the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Despite being acquitted, it was too late to salvage the damage that was already created, and this increased his hatred towards the governing system in the United States of America. Since this was an era of the cold war and it was a difficult task to remain a communist, Du Bois migrated to Ghana after being declared the first independent black African nation. Since Du Bois had worked all through his life to achieve this status, he was invited by the then president, Kwame Nkrumah.

  1. Eugene Debs embraced socialism —why? What was occurring in American society that made this ideology attractive?

Eugene was first elected in the Indiana House of Representative being as a Democrat. After a decade, he took part in the Pullman strike which led to his incarceration. Actually, he was against the principles of communists, and refuted the idea of America participating in World War 1. In essence, he was jailed for ten years because he opposed the idea publicly. Additionally, it is imperative to note that at this time there was a lot of corruption and corporate despotism, which made him, together with other skilled and unskilled personnel, to establish various labour unions, such as the American Railway Union (ARU), amongst others. Since the plight of labourers became his concern, Deb began to see corporations and trusts as rivals to the humanity of labourers. This became the only reason why he decided to use the language of republicans in order to support the resistance of employees. Because he supported such movements and refused to obey a court order stopping him and his colleagues from joining a strike, Debs was incarcerated for six months. While in prison, one socialist member by name Victor Berger brought him a text authored by Karl Marx on the subject Das Kapital to study. At this point in time, he started making considerations in regard to using socialism techniques as opposed to capitalism. He came out from prison as a totally changed man, thus the beginning of his socialism. Perhaps the mistreatment that he was given for violating a court injunction against a strike changed his style of approaching issues. His ideology became attractive because it was relevant to the plights of labourers, who were similarly against capitalist techniques of leading. Employees in different organizations then found him relevant in solving their plights.

  1. Explain Deb’s role in the famous Pullman Strike.

When a manager by name George Pullman made a decision to slash the wages of his employees by 25% because of a financial decline or reduction in business, he failed to do the same for rents and utilities ion the factory owned by the town of Pullman. Four thousand employees decided to join the American Railway Union, which was at that point in time led by Eugene Debs. It then followed that they struck the Pullman town plant. The members of the ARU, who were working on different railway lines gave their support the idea of the strike by boycotting cars in Pullman town. Actually, they declined to connect cars in Pullman town to their respective trains. As such, one of the federal judges in Pullman town gave an injunction against the course or boycott that was taken by these employees, and Mr.Cleveland, the President, ordered the military troops to counter and end the strike. Debs, who was part of this striking team at this time refused to obey the order that was given by the federal judge, and this led to his arrest. The end result was that the union collapsed after his incarceration. His main role therefore was that he gave his support, as the head of ARU, to the striking employees of Pullman, and this led to the Pullman Strike.

  1. What did Debs and Du Bois accomplish for working class Americans? Specifically, what did these men do to heighten awareness of inequality during the Age of Industry?

Du bois gave his contributions, particularly as an activist in fighting for civil rights. He was one of the most prominent political activist and intellectual African American leader in the 1st half of the 20th century. As a present-day image of Booker T., he facilitated dialogues with the government in regard to subjects of racism, denied political rights, and methodologies through which the life of African Americans could be improved. As such, he was nicknamed, “The Farther of Pan-Africanism”. Together with Washington, W.E.B Du Bois aided in organizing the exhibition of Negros, which took place in Paris in1900, dubbed “Exposition Universelle.” This exhibition encompassed the photos of Benjamin Johnstone of black students from Hampton Institute. Additionally, the exhibition of African Americans focused on the constructive contributions that African Americans gave to the society in America. Later on, in 1905, the attorney of Minnesota, by name McGhee Fredrick, together with Du Bois and other philanthropists assisted in establishing the Niagara Movement with William Monroe Trotter. This movement fought for the authentication of the freedom of criticism and speech, the acknowledgement of the utmost, and the best training for humans as the domination of no race or caste, total masculine suffrage, credence in the decorum of labour, and an amalgamated attempt to recognize such morals under the influence of sound management.

      Conversely, the contributions that Debs made could be categorized as being an active and effective member of a labour union, who made a decision to ignore his radical inclinations. He fought for African Americans to enjoy their fundamental freedom of speech and safeguard their welfare in working environments. In the organized segments of labour, Debs was given respect as one of the major forces to reckon with amongst the initiators of the labour movements in America. Through his public speeches against capitalism helped create awareness in regard to the inequalities, corruption, and employee welfare abuses that occurred in the government and railway industry.

  1. Why did President Wilson intervene in Mexico’s affairs? Why did he send troops?

 The decision made by the United States to intervene in the revolution of Mexicans was brought forth by the sentiments of the United States against the Hispanic leadership, and the large amount of the U.S business ventures in the economy of Mexico. Even though President Wilson did not announce war against Mexico, the affair of the Ypiranga strained their diplomatic relations. During this affair, the government of Germany sent arms, which were illegal to the President of Mexico. Imperative to note, however, is that President Wilson was not in support of the President of Mexico. As a form of retaliation for the raid that Pancho Villa executed in New Mexico, President Wilson decided to send military troops to the boarder of Mexico in 1916, with an intention of capturing Pancho Villa. The forces were that time under the direct governance of General Pershing John. Even though the raid that was done by General Pershing were not successful, the diplomatic relations that existed between Mexico and the United States almost came to a halt, and the Zimmermann telegraph publication further infuriated the American citizens. Essentially, therefore, this argument illustrates that in 1916, President Wilson Woodrow sent military forces into Mexico with the aim of arresting Pancho Villa. Villa vowed to take revenge against the U.S for refusing to support his efforts to be a Mexican President. As such, he and his supporters carried out an attack against the American citizens who were living along the United States-Mexican border. The action of President Wilson to secure the American borders is what he called the Mexican Intervention.

  1. Although this biography is fairly even-toned and positive toward Wilson, he had very set ideas about race. He is the first president to segregate the White House and he’s best known for private viewing of the infamous pro-Klan film Birth of a Nation. He strongly believed and practiced segregation. Realize that perhaps many presidents before and after Wilson held these same views, however Wilson is often viewed as “one of America’s most progressive presidents.” What do you think? Please find other information on him to support this claim. PBS has a wonderful web site that addresses this information.  Why is this view of Wilson generally not presented (at least in grade school)?
  1. If Wilson was so popular at the conclusion of World War One, then why did the United States not ratify the Treaty of Versailles or join the League of Nations?

The Treaty of Versailles was to later form the League of Nations. The United States thought that this treaty would be a threat to their own sovereignty. The Covenant of the League of Nations was included inthe Versailles Treaty. Article X of this treaty outlined details of joint security. As such, The League of Nations wanted to make use of joint armed resources belonging to its member states to defend against any attack. This implied that an action taken by the United States to become part of the League would create the necessity of this state engaging in war, without the Congress’ support of an armed combat. Secondly, joining the League failed because the concept of isolationism was fast growing with the support of Republicans. Since the President that took power after President Wilson, namely Warren Harding, was a Republican, he took advantage of the isolationist feelings that were prevalent during this period and won elections.  Finally, the U.S failed to join the League of Nations because it opposed the postulations in the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine stated that “all future attempts of the European nations to colonize would be considered acts of hostility and would invite the U.S military interventions,” which would have been contradicted, suppose the Treaty of Versailles would have been ratified. This alone negated the possibilities of the U.S joining the League of Nations.

            In a general sense, despite the efforts made by President Woodrow Wilson to establish the League of Nations, objections that arose from the Senate (more so from the Republicans) made it impossible for the country to join the league. For instance, Borah E. Wiliam and majorly Cabot Hendry Lodge, and the refusal of Wilson to negotiate made sure that the United States does not ratify the Treaty of Versailles and The League of Nations. A decision to join the league could only be compared to signing a cheque that is blank. The United States of America refuted the idea of having to transport their military personnel through half of the worlds continents for clashes that were not any of their concerns. Additionally, the state did not want to put the lives of American citizens and their economy at risk after the massive losses that it incurred in World War 1. Finally, the Republicans supported the idea of isolationism and thus acted in independence and not collaboratively with other states, in addition to American citizens feeling that the Treaty of Versailles was very harsh, more so for German-Americans.

  1. How did Thomas Edison earn the title the “Wizard of Menlo Park”? What personal price did he pay for success?

He is called so because he established and located his 1st laboratory in New Jersey, Menlo Park. This is where he did his supposed inventions. Edison lived a pretentious life of seriousness, without doing anything serious. Any time he heard that reporters were going to his lab to have a glimpse of what he was doing, he could pretend to be serious and tell his colleagues to do the same. After a while of silence, he would burst out and announce an invention he had made theoretically, which never came to pass. However, because he spoke and promised the world some of the greatest inventions for the future, he got employed in telegraph companies, amongst others, thus his success.

  1. Is science progress? How did Edison modernize American society? How did science and technology become a big business as a result of Edison’s inventions? Provide examples.

It is true that science is progress because it gave the world the current technologies that it uses to make work easy. Edison modernized the American society through his early inventions in telegraphy, and similarly pioneering the work of developing an electric bulb, which exists today. All the credit pertaining to electricity are given to Edison. Edison was the first to improve inventions that he stumbled on, and similarly invented some of his own. Since Edison established the first invention factory of the world by inventing things, building them, and finally shipping them, within the same building or complex, he introduced a new technique of doing business. Since many businesses that exist today operate in this way, his factory design has become a success story. Edison improved the telephone, but invented the light bulb and projector used in movies today. He similarly stumbled upon the phonograph, which he was very proud of amongst all his inventions. He invented, built, and sold or shipped all these things in one complex, which has led to the existence of today’s hypermarkets.

  1. Access the History matters web site. The site is located under web links on the course content on Learn. Type in “Pullman Strike” under search. Listed are 6-7 primary sources describing the Pullman strike which involved laborers who lived and worked in Pullman’s company town. Read over the accounts by both workers and George Pullman. What did workers want? How did Pullman justify his actions? What were his motives?

The workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company wanted their employers in Pullman to stop deducting their wages, stop controlling all aspects of their life, and similarly improve their working conditions. Characteristically, Pullman held his employees responsible for the problems they were facing, with an argument that if they had not gone on strike they would not be undergoing such kind of anguish and pain. In fact, Pullman further reiterated that the strike was a violation of the United States constitution, thus illegal. He was interested in breaking the American Railway Union (ARU) by making his employees surrender their membership in the union in order to save their  jobs.

17. What perspectives are presented with these primary sources? How do these primary sources reflect the tensions and concerns over labor and industry? Please provide examples from the website.

These primary sources suggest that the authorities at this time sympathized with the workers that Pullman had laid off. For instance, Governor John P. Atgeld sympathized with these workers and pleaded with Pullman to do something about their plights. Similarly, these sources portray other citizens as sympathizers of their fellow employees who are displaced because of dictatorial regimes and this is evidenced by the food donations that the public gave the workers who were on strike until they got employed in other companies. The Tensions and concerns that are raised over labour and industry are portrayed in these sources as being constitutional and national affairs, which can only be solved with the support of a judiciary, and not unions. However, it is noted that unions play a significant role in fighting for the rights of employees in regard to improving their wages and protection against totalitarian regimes.

Works Cited

“Are Sleeping Cars Protected by the Constitution? Mr. Dooley on the Pullman Strike.” Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5305.

“Broken Spirits: Letters on the Pullman Strike.” Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5363.

“Chicago under the mob.” Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6769.

“Father Knows Best?: Strikers Denounce Pullman.” Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5307.

“For the Further Benefit of Our People”: George Pullman Answers His Strikers. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5306.

Altgeld, John Live Questions, Chicago: George S. Bowen and Son, 1899.

Bailey, Thomas Andrew. Woodrow Wilson and the great betrayal. Macmillan, 1945.

Barbara C., Schaaf, ed., Mr. Dooley’s Chicago, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1977, 341–343.

Carnegie, Andrew. “Wealth.” North American Review 148.391 (1889): 653-665.

Carnegie, Andrew. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. Vol. 3. Houghton Mifflin, 1920.

ChicagoEvening Post, 7 July 1894.

December, I. N. “Woodrow Wilson and the Mexican lnterventionist Movement of 1919.” The Journal of American History 58.1 (1971): 46-72.

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others. ProQuest Information and Learning, 2005.

Egerton, George W. “Britain and the’Great Betrayal’: Anglo-American Relations and the Struggle for United States Ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919-1920.” Historical Journal (1978): 885-911.

Frederic, Remington, Harper’s Weekly, July 21, 1894—American Social History Project.

Lee, Ronald, and James R. Andrews. “A story of rhetorical‐ideological transformation: Eugene V. Debs as liberal hero.” (1991): 20-37.

Reply of the Pullman Company, U.S. Strike Commission, Report and Testimony on the Chicago Strike of 1894 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1895), 578–80.

Salvatore, Nick. Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist. University of Illinois Press, 1982.

Statement of the Pullman Strikers, U.S. Strike Commission, Report and Testimony on the Chicago Strike of 1894, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1895, 87–88.

Stross, Randall E. The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World. Random House LLC, 2007.

Thomas G. Manning, The Chicago Strike of 1894, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960, 4–7.

Thomas G., Manning , The Chicago Strike of 1894, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960, 2–4.

Washington, Booker T. Up from slavery. Penguin, 1986.

Winkler, John Kennedy. Incredible Carnegie: The Life of Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919. The Vanguard Press, 1931