Andrew Carnegie And Jane Addams: A Comparative Analysis

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At the end of the 19th Century, as the United States was experiencing rapid industrialization, a reconfiguration of the social order yielded opposing visions of social progress. Andrew Carnegie, wealthy businessman, and Jane Addams, founder of Chicago’s Hull House, put forward different methods to achieve such progress, where Addams focuses on creating social capital in a seemingly horizontal manner while Carnegie advocates for a top-down approach. While both of them seem to reap a sense of purpose from their attempts to improve the nation, their approaches vary depending on their vision of the composition of the population they want to uplift. First, Carnegie and Addams’ desire to improve society is partly self-serving. For Carnegie, improving society is the role of the wealthy man who, “animated by Christ’s spirit” (“Wealth”), can administer wealth for the community better than it could have for itself (“Wealth”). Carnegie’s ostentatious vanity indicates that he reaps pride from his attempt at improving society, which serves the explicit goal of “dignify[ing] his own life” (“Wealth”). Although Addams stresses the importance of unity and the interdependency of the classes (226), it is important to point out that she opened the Hull House in response to the uselessness she felt following a…show more content…
horizontal) reflects their consciousness of the diversity in societies they seek to uplift. On one hand, although Carnegie writes that “[h]uman society loses homogeneity” (“Wealth”), he only mentions the economic disparities creating a “problem of Rich and Poor” (“Wealth”). This binary understanding of the division of society is reflected by his repeated use of terms like “the masses” (Carnegie, “Wealth”), and offers insight into Carnegie’s vision of social uplift. Indeed, he doesn’t mention any tailored actions for subgroups of the mass, whose needs and existence are completely flattened by his

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