Andrew Carnegie

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Andrew Carnegie : biography

November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919

World peace

Influenced by his "favorite living hero in public life", the British liberal, John Bright, Carnegie started his efforts in pursuit of world peace at a young age.Carnegie, Andrew. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (Boston, 1920), Ch. 21, pp. 282–283 His motto, "All is well since all grows better", served not only as a good rationalization of his successful business career but also in his view of international relations.

Despite his love and efforts towards international peace, Carnegie faced many dilemmas on his quest for world peace. These dilemmas are often regarded as conflicts between his view on international relations and his other loyalties. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, for example, Carnegie allowed his steel works to fill large orders of armor plate for the building of an enlarged and modernized United States Navy; while he opposed American oversea expansion.Carnegie, Andrew. An American Four-in-Hand in Britain (New York, 1883), pp. 14–15 He also wrote controversial criticisms of the British class structure which seemed to conflict with his promotion of Anglo-American friendship.Carnegie, Andrew. Triumphant Democracy, passim

Americanism Versus Imperialism

After he sold his steel company in 1901, Carnegie was able to get fully involved into the acts for the peace cause, both financially and personally. He gave away most of his fortunes to various peace-keeping agencies in order to keep them growing. When his friend, the British publicist William T. Stead, asked him to create a new organization for the goal of a peace and arbitration society, his reply was as such:

Carnegie believed that it is the effort and will of the people, that maintains the peace in international relations. Money is just a push for the act. If world peace depended solely on financial support, it would not seem a goal, but more like an act of pity.

The creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910 was regarded as a milestone on the road to the ultimate goal of abolition of war. Beyond a gift of $10 million for peace promotion, Carnegie also encouraged the "scientific" investigation of the various causes of war, and the adoption of judicial methods that should eventually eliminate them. He believed that the Endowment exists to promote information on the nations’ rights and responsibilities under existing international law and to encourage other conferences to codify this law.Patterson, David S. "Andrew Carnegie’s Quest for World Peace". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 114, No. 5 (October 20, 1970), pp. 371–383

In 1914, on the eve of the First World War, Carnegie founded the Church Peace Union (CPU), a group of leaders in religion, academia, and politics. Through the CPU, Carnegie hoped to mobilize the world’s churches, religious organizations, and other spiritual and moral resources to join in promoting moral leadership to put an end to war forever. For its inaugural international event, the CPU sponsored a conference to be held on August 1, 1914, on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany. As the delegates made their way to the conference by train, Germany was invading Belgium.

Despite its inauspicious beginning, the CPU thrived. Today its focus is on ethics and it is known as the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to be the voice for ethics in international affairs.

The outbreak of the First World War was clearly a shock to Carnegie and his optimistic view on world peace. Although his promotion of anti-imperialism and world peace had all failed, and the Carnegie Endowment had not fulfilled his expectations, his beliefs and ideas on international relations had helped build the foundation of the League of Nations after his death, which took world peace to another level.