Week 7 Study Guide HST.docx - Study Guide for u2013...

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Andrew Carnegie grew from humble origins to be one of the wealthiest men in the world in 1901. We will look more at the life of Andrew Carnegie in class. “On Wealth”, also known as “The Gospel of Wealth,” was an essay that Carnegie (car-NEG-ee) wrote in 1889 for The North American Review one of the leading intellectual journals of America. Carnegie is commenting on the growing disparity of wealth we talked about in class when we began this unit. He also addresses the now roiling conflict between labor and capital that was mushrooming up all over the United States. This is his rationalization of this conflict and why it should actually be no conflict at all. Note that Carnegie makes a fleeting reference to Herbert Spencer. Carnegie admired Spencer, an English philosopher whose ideas merged with Charles Darwin in Carnegie’s mind to establish a hierarchy of being among humans. In this conception of the world, those who were the most successful had gained their success because they were endowed with superior characteristics which placed them naturally at the top of the heap. This attitude oversimplifies both the work of Spencer and of Darwin, while justifying what Carnegie and other extremely wealthy industrialists had done to obtain their wealth. Pay attention to how Carnegie naturalizes the acquisition of wealth, arguing that it is the natural result of abilities that are more fit to prosper and that those abilities naturally make it correct that the wealthy supervise the redistribution of their wealth after they have obtained it. Study Guide for – Carnegie “On Wealth”
1) What is this article about?
2) What would you say is Carnegie’s thesis?
3) Why does Carnegie see the disparity of wealth as beneficial and essential for the progress of mankind?
4)

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