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One of the amazing phenomena in America is that not all of her richest people are selfish, then (and now). Andrew Carnegie was one of them. Please read below about him, what he has accomplished and done for the American people.
I wonder if we Filipinos will ever have one patriotic and generous enough even if not necessarily comparable in accumulated wealth.
Also, note what Carnegie said about education: "....for education makes rebels...." Thus, in retrospect it is understandable though unacceptable that our former colonizers: the Spaniards did not want to educate us natives and kept the native majority ignorant/illiterate; the Americans gave us public education but distorted our history.
In 1898, Carnegie tried to arrange for independence for the Philippines. As the end of the Spanish American War neared, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain for $20 million USD. To counter what he perceived as imperialism on the part of the United States, Carnegie personally offered $20 million USD to the Philippines so that the Filipino people could buy their independence from the United States. However, nothing came of this gesture and the Philippine-American War ensued.
Carnegie opposed the annexation of Cuba by the United States and in this, was successful with many other conservatives who founded an anti-imperialist league that included former presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, and literary figures like Mark Twain.
Carnegie believed in using his fortune for others and doing more than making money. He wrote:
I propose to take an income no greater than $50,000 per annum! Beyond this I need ever earn, make no effort to increase my fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes! Let us cast aside business forever, except for others. Let us settle in Oxford and I shall get a thorough education, making the acquaintance of literary men. I figure that this will take three years active work. I shall pay especial attention to speaking in public. We can settle in London and I can purchase a controlling interest in some newspaper or live review and give the general management of it attention, taking part in public matters, especially those connected with education and improvement of the poorer classes. Man must have an idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character. 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. I will resign business at thirty-five, but during these ensuing two years I wish to spend the afternoons in receiving instruction and in reading systematically!
He is one of the most famous captains of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
He was an immigrant as a child with his parents. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business, he later turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Mellon University and theCarnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Carnegie gave away most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in America, the United Kingdom and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.
He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry.
- from WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Carnegie
Distant Possessions: The Parting of the Ways
By Andrew Carnegie
From The Gospel of Wealth (New York: The Century Co., 1901).
Originally published in the North American Review (Aug. 1898).
Twice only have the American people been called upon to decide a question of such vital import as that now before them.
Is the Republic, the apostle of Triumphant Democracy, of the rule of the people, to abandon her political creed and endeavor to establish in other lands the rule of the foreigner over the people, Triumphant Despotism?
Is the Republic to remain one homogeneous whole, one united people, or to become a scattered and disjointed aggregate of widely separated and alien races?
Is she to continue the task of developing her vast continent until it holds a population as great as that of
Is she to exchange internal growth and advancement for the development of external possessions which can never be really hers in any fuller sense than
Such is the portentous question of the day. Two equally important questions the American people have decided wisely, and their flag now waves over the greater portion of the English-speaking race; their country is the richest of all countries, first in manufactures, in mining, and in commerce (home and foreign), first this year also in exports. But, better than this, the average condition of its people in education and in living is the best. The luxuries of the masses in other lands are the necessaries of life in ours. The school-house and the church are nowhere so widely distributed. Progress in the arts and sciences is surprising. In international affairs her influence grows so fast, and foreshadows so much, that one of the foremost statesmen has recently warned
In considering the issue now before us, the agitator, the demagogue, has no part. Not feeling, not passion, but deliberate judgment alone, should have place. The question should be calmly weighed; it is not a matter of party, nor of class; for the fundamental interest of every citizen is a common interest, that which is best for the poorest being best for the richest. Let us, therefore, reason together, and be well assured, before we change our position, that we are making no plunge into an abyss. Happily, we have the experience of others to guide us, the most instructive being that of our own race in
There are two kinds of national possessions, one colonies, the other dependencies. In the former we establish and reproduce our own race. Thus
With dependencies it is otherwise. The most grievous burden which
Inasmuch as the territories outside our own continent which our country may be tempted to annex cannot be colonies, but only dependencies, we need not dwell particularly upon the advantages or disadvantages of the former, although the writer is in thorough accord with Disraeli, who said even of colonies: "Our colonies are millstones round the neck of Britain; they lean upon us while they are weak, and leave us when they become strong." This is just what our Republic did with
There was something to be said for colonies from the point of view of pecuniary gain in the olden days, when they were treated as the legitimate spoil of the conqueror. It is
Some of the organs of manufacturing interests, we observe, favor foreign possessions as necessary or helpful markets for our products. But the exports of the
If we could establish colonies of Americans, and grow Americans in any part of the world now unpopulated and unclaimed by any of the great powers, and thus follow the example of Britain, heart and mind might tell us that we should have to think twice, yea, thrice, before deciding adversely. Even then our decision should be adverse; but there is at present no such question before us. What we have to face is the question whether we should embark upon the difficult and dangerous policy of undertaking the government of alien races in lands where it is impossible for our own race to be produced.
As long as we remain free from distant possessions we are impregnable against serious attack; yet, it is true, we have to consider what obligations may fall upon us of an international character requiring us to send our forces to points beyond our own territory. Up to this time we have disclaimed all intention to interfere with affairs beyond our own continent, and only claimed the right to watch over American interests according to the Monroe Doctrine, which is now firmly established. This carries with it serious responsibilities, no doubt, which we cannot escape. European nations must consult us upon territorial questions pertaining to our continent, but this makes no tremendous demand upon our military or naval forces. We are at home, as it were, near our base, and sure of the support of the power in whose behalf and on whose request we may act.
If it be found essential to possess a coaling-station at
As I write, the cable announces the annexation of
To reduce it to the concrete, the question is: Shall we attempt to establish ourselves as a power in the far East and possess the
There are many objections to our undertaking the government of dependencies; one I venture to submit as being peculiar to ourselves. We should be placed in a wrong position. Consider
The national patriotism upon which a Briton plumes himself he must repress in
With what face shall we hang in the school-houses of the
It has hitherto been the glorious mission of the Republic to establish upon secure foundations Triumphant Democracy, and the world now understands government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Tires the Republic so soon of its mission, that it must, perforce, discard it to undertake the impossible task of establishing Triumphant Despotism, the rule of the foreigner over the people? and must the millions of the
Let another phase of the question be carefully weighed.
It has never been considered the part of wisdom to thrust one's hand into the hornet's nest, and it does seem as if the
It is the parting of the ways. We have a continent to populate and develop; there are only twenty-three persons to the square mile in the
If we are to compete with other nations for foreign possessions, we must have a navy like theirs. It should be superior to any other navy, or we play a second part. It is not enough to have a navy equal to that of
What it means to enter the list of military and naval powers having foreign possessions may be gathered from the following considerations. First, look at our future navy. If it is only to equal that of
This drain upon the resources of these countries has become a necessity from their respective positions, largely as graspers for foreign possessions. The
To-day two great powers in the world are compact, developing themselves in peace throughout vast conterminous territories. When war threatens they have no outlying possessions which can never be really "possessed," but which they are called upon to defend. They fight upon the exposed edge only of their own soil in case of attack, and are not only invulnerable, but they could not be more than inconvenienced by the world in arms against them. These powers are
Whether the United States maintain its present unique position of safety, or forfeit it through acquiring foreign possessions, is to be decided by its action in regard to the Philippines; for, fortunately, the independence of Cuba is assured; for this the Republic has proclaimed to the world that she has drawn the sword. But why should the less than two millions of
We repeat, there is no power in the world that could do more than inconvenience the
From every point of view we are forced to the conclusion that the past policy of the Republic is her true policy for the future; for safety, for peace, for happiness, for progress, for wealth, for power -- for all that makes a nation blessed.
Not till the war-drum is silent, and the day of calm peace returns, can the issue be soberly considered.
Twice have the American people met crucial issues wisely, and in the third they are not to fail.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was a vice president and generous financial supporter of the Anti-Imperialist League from its formation in 1898 until his death. He was also a member of the Philippine Independence Committee (1904) and a vice president of the Filipino Progress Association (1905-1907).