Andrew Carnegie was an American industrialist and businessman who lived from 1835 until 1919. His role in the steel industry helped steel become the predominant material used in the construction of the railroads that unified the United States from east to west. Carnegie eventually gave away a large portion of his fortune. The money was used to build libraries, put organs in churches and fund scientific research and education.
Andrew Carnegie's role in the steel business had both positive and negative effects on American society. While Carnegie Steel did make possible the construction of railroads and other machines to make transportation of goods, services and people easier than ever, the conditions in his factories also led to some of the most notable strikes in history. In 1892, workers struck against wage decreases and unsafe work conditions, which included the use of simple wool long underwear as protective gear. Many deaths and serious injuries occurred as a result of unsafe factory conditions.
As a philanthropist, Carnegie contributed greatly to the fostering of education in the United States. He gave away the bulk of his wealth, over $350 million, to libraries and charitable organizations. The building of libraries made knowledge more accessible to the common man. Among his gifts were the land and materials needed to build Carnegie Hall, a New York City performance venue.