Does that public library card in your pocket redeem his abuse of the people whose labor made him rich?

There is justified criticism of Carnegie’s treatment of his workers before, during and after the Homestead Strike of 1892. After all, it really wasn’t a strike, but a lockout. He brought in mercenaries and strikebreakers to keep the mill running, and ultimately replaced many of his workers with non-union immigrants.

However, he did practice what he preached in his “Gospel of Wealth”, eventually giving most of his money away. The American system of public lending libraries is enormously indebted to Carnegie’s substantial contribution toward what he called “the enlightenment and the joys of the mind” of the American people.

So, stay within the context of Andrew Carnegie: Prince of Steel and speak to the archetypal question — do the ends justify the means? Does that public library card in your pocket redeem his abuse of the people whose labor made him rich?

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