The Gospel of Wealth



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Unit 3 - Andrew Carnegie: “The Gospel of Wealth” (1889) – A Close Reading

Part I

Directions: First, I will read the text aloud. Then, I will read the text aloud again and we will stop to discuss some of the vocabulary. On the second read, you should make notes on the vocabulary in the margins where appropriate, as well as highlight any points you feel are important. You are not expected to know all of the words or understand everything in these initial readings. We will reread this text very closely over several days to uncover its meaning.

The problem of our age is the administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.

The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. . . . The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.

This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay [archaic; not only that but also], essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Maecenas [this is an allusion to Rome, he was a wealthy patron of the arts]. The "good old times" were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as today. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both - not the least so to him who serves - and would sweep away civilization with it....

. . .

We start, then, with a condition of affairs under which the best interests of the race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to the few. Thus far, accepting conditions as they exist, the situation can be surveyed and pronounced good. The question then arises - and, if the foregoing be correct, it is the only question with which we have to deal-What is the proper mode of administering wealth after the laws upon which civilization is founded have thrown it into the hands of the few? And it is of this great question that I believe I offer the true solution. It will be understood that fortunes are here spoken of, not moderate sums saved by many years of effort, the returns from which are required for the comfortable maintenance and education of families. This is not wealth, but only competence [adequacy; possession of required skills], which it should be the aim of all to acquire.



There are but three modes in which surplus wealth can be disposed of. It can be left to the families of the decedents; or it can be bequeathed for public purposes; or, finally, it can be administered during their lives by its possessors. Under the first and second modes most of the wealth of the world that has reached the few has hitherto been applied.

Let us in turn consider each of these modes. The first is the most injudicious. In monarchial countries, the estates and the greatest portion of the wealth are left to the first son, that the vanity of the parent may be gratified by the thought that his name and title are to descend to succeeding generations unimpaired. The condition of this class in Europe today teaches the futility of such hopes or ambitions. The successors have become impoverished through their follies [absurd or foolish action] or from the fall in the value of land.... Why should men leave great fortunes to their children? If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened. Neither is it well for the state. Beyond providing for the wife and daughters moderate sources of income, and very moderate allowances indeed, if any, for the sons, men may well hesitate, for it is no longer questionable that great sums bequeathed oftener work more for the injury than for the good of the recipients. Wise men will soon conclude that, for the best interests of the members of their families and of the state, such bequests are an improper use of their means.

. . .

As to the second mode, that of leaving wealth at death for public uses, it may be said that this is only a means for the disposal of wealth, provided a man is content to wait until he is dead before it becomes of much good in the world.... The cases are not few in which the real object sought by the testator is not attained, nor are they few in which his real wishes are thwarted [to prevent something]....



The growing disposition [changing of thought patterns] to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion.... Of all forms of taxation, this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death, the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.

It is desirable that nations should go much further in this direction. Indeed, it is difficult to set bounds to the share of a rich man's estate which should go at his death to the public through the agency of the state, and by all means such taxes should be graduated [divided into stages], beginning at nothing upon moderate [not large, or too small] sums to dependents, and increasing rapidly as the amounts swell. . . . This policy would work powerfully to induce the rich man to attend to the administration of wealth during his life, which is the end that society should always have in view, as being by far the most fruitful for the people. Nor need it be feared that this policy would sap the root of enterprise and render [to make] men less anxious to accumulate, for, to the class whose ambition it is to leave great fortunes and be talked about after their death, it will attract even more attention, and, indeed, be a somewhat nobler ambition to have enormous sums paid over to the state from their fortunes.

There remains, then, only one mode of using great fortunes: but in this way we have the true antidote [something that reduces effects or helps solve a problem] for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth, the reconciliation [ending of conflict] of the rich and the poor - a reign of harmony - another ideal, differing, indeed from that of the Communist in requiring only the further evolution of existing conditions, not the total overthrow of our civilization.

. . .


This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of Wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial result for the community - the man of wealth thus becoming the sole agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer-doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.

If we consider what results flow from the Cooper Institute [a philanthropic organization], for instance, to the best portion of the race in New York not possessed of means, and compare these with those which would have arisen for the good of the masses from an equal sum distributed by Mr. Cooper in his lifetime in the form of wages, which is the highest form of distribution, being for work done and not for charity, we can form some estimate of the possibilities for the improvement of the race which lie embedded in the present law of the accumulation of wealth. Much of this sum if distributed in small quantities among the people, would have been wasted in the indulgence of appetite, some of it in excess, and it may be doubted whether even the part put to the best use, that of adding to the comforts of the home, would have yielded results for the race, as a race, at all comparable to those which are flowing and are to flow from the Cooper Institute from generation to generation. Let the advocate of violent or radical change ponder well this thought.

We might even go so far as to take another instance, that of Mr. Tilden's bequest of five millions of dollars for a free library in the city of New York, but in referring to this one cannot help saying involuntarily, how much better if Mr. Tilden had devoted the last years of his own life to the proper administration of this immense sum; in which case neither legal contest nor any other cause of delay could have interfered with his aims. But let us assume that Mr. Tilden's millions finally become the means of giving to this city a noble public library, where the treasures of the world contained in books will be open to all forever, without money and without price. Considering the good of that part of the race which congregates in and around Manhattan Island, would its permanent benefit have been better promoted had these millions been allowed to circulate in small sums through the hands of the masses? Even the most strenuous advocate of Communism must entertain a doubt upon this subject. Most of those who think will probably entertain no doubt whatever.

. . .


Thus is the problem of Rich and Poor to be solved. The laws of accumulation will be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted [to make another responsible] for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself. The best minds will thus have reached a stage in the development of the race which it is clearly seen that there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year by year for the general good. This day already dawns. But a little while, and although, without incurring the pity of their fellows, men may die sharers in great business enterprises from which their capital cannot be or has not been withdrawn, and is left chiefly at death for public uses, yet the man who dies leaving behind many millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away " unwept, unhonored, and unsung," no matter to what uses he leaves the dross [something that is worthless] which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced."

Such, in my opinion, is the true Gospel concerning Wealth, obedience to which is destined some day to solve the problem of the Rich and the Poor, and to bring ' Peace on earth, among men Good-Will."



Original:

Andrew Carnegie, "Wealth," North American Review, 148, no. 391 (June 1889): 653, 65762.


Retrieved from:

Bannister, Robert. “North American Review. Wealth.” American Intellectual History. Swarthmore, 27 June 1995. Web. 27 July 2012. .



Part II: Text Dependent Questions

Use the following method to address each of the questions below:



  • Reread the section of the text that precedes the question

  • Take notes to help you formulate an answer to the question

  • Discuss the question in a group

  • Individually write what you think are the best answers to each question

Note to Teacher: Given the complexity of the text as well as the questions, teachers should not wait until groups have addressed all the questions before going over them. Especially in the beginning, it is important to ascertain that students are not going too far afield in their understanding of the points that Carnegie is making, as each idea builds on what precedes it.

The Text: “The Gospel of Wealth,” Andrew Carnegie

Text

Question

The problem of our age is the administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.

The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. . . . The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.

This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay [archaic; not only that but also], essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Maecenas [this is an allusion to Rome, he was a wealthy patron of the arts]. The "good old times" were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as today. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both - not the least so to him who serves - and would sweep away civilization with it....

. . .


We start, then, with a condition of affairs under which the best interests of the race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to the few. Thus far, accepting conditions as they exist, the situation can be surveyed and pronounced good. The question then arises - and, if the foregoing be correct, it is the only question with which we have to deal-What is the proper mode of administering wealth after the laws upon which civilization is founded have thrown it into the hands of the few? And it is of this great question that I believe I offer the true solution. It will be understood that fortunes are here spoken of, not moderate sums saved by many years of effort, the returns from which are required for the comfortable maintenance and education of families. This is not wealth, but only competence [adequacy; possession of required skills], which it should be the aim of all to acquire.

There are but three modes in which surplus wealth can be disposed of. It can be left to the families of the decedents; or it can be bequeathed for public purposes; or, finally, it can be administered during their lives by its possessors. Under the first and second modes most of the wealth of the world that has reached the few has hitherto been applied.

Let us in turn consider each of these modes. The first is the most injudicious. In monarchial countries, the estates and the greatest portion of the wealth are left to the first son, that the vanity of the parent may be gratified by the thought that his name and title are to descend to succeeding generations unimpaired. The condition of this class in Europe today teaches the futility of such hopes or ambitions. The successors have become impoverished through their follies [absurd or foolish action] or from the fall in the value of land.... Why should men leave great fortunes to their children? If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened. Neither is it well for the state. Beyond providing for the wife and daughters moderate sources of income, and very moderate allowances indeed, if any, for the sons, men may well hesitate, for it is no longer questionable that great sums bequeathed oftener work more for the injury than for the good of the recipients. Wise men will soon conclude that, for the best interests of the members of their families and of the state, such bequests are an improper use of their means.

. . .


As to the second mode, that of leaving wealth at death for public uses, it may be said that this is only a means for the disposal of wealth, provided a man is content to wait until he is dead before it becomes of much good in the world.... The cases are not few in which the real object sought by the testator is not attained, nor are they few in which his real wishes are thwarted [to prevent something]....

The growing disposition [changing of thought patterns] to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion.... Of all forms of taxation, this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death, the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.

It is desirable that nations should go much further in this direction. Indeed, it is difficult to set bounds to the share of a rich man's estate which should go at his death to the public through the agency of the state, and by all means such taxes should be graduated [divided into stages], beginning at nothing upon moderate [not large, or too small] sums to dependents, and increasing rapidly as the amounts swell. . . . This policy would work powerfully to induce the rich man to attend to the administration of wealth during his life, which is the end that society should always have in view, as being by far the most fruitful for the people. Nor need it be feared that this policy would sap the root of enterprise and render [to make] men less anxious to accumulate, for, to the class whose ambition it is to leave great fortunes and be talked about after their death, it will attract even more attention, and, indeed, be a somewhat nobler ambition to have enormous sums paid over to the state from their fortunes.

There remains, then, only one mode of using great fortunes: but in this way we have the true antidote [something that reduces effects or helps solve a problem] for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth, the reconciliation [ending of conflict] of the rich and the poor - a reign of harmony - another ideal, differing, indeed from that of the Communist in requiring only the further evolution of existing conditions, not the total overthrow of our civilization.

. . .

This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of Wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial result for the community - the man of wealth thus becoming the sole agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer-doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.



If we consider what results flow from the Cooper Institute [a philanthropic organization], for instance, to the best portion of the race in New York not possessed of means, and compare these with those which would have arisen for the good of the masses from an equal sum distributed by Mr. Cooper in his lifetime in the form of wages, which is the highest form of distribution, being for work done and not for charity, we can form some estimate of the possibilities for the improvement of the race which lie embedded in the present law of the accumulation of wealth. Much of this sum if distributed in small quantities among the people, would have been wasted in the indulgence of appetite, some of it in excess, and it may be doubted whether even the part put to the best use, that of adding to the comforts of the home, would have yielded results for the race, as a race, at all comparable to those which are flowing and are to flow from the Cooper Institute from generation to generation. Let the advocate of violent or radical change ponder well this thought.

We might even go so far as to take another instance, that of Mr. Tilden's bequest of five millions of dollars for a free library in the city of New York, but in referring to this one cannot help saying involuntarily, how much better if Mr. Tilden had devoted the last years of his own life to the proper administration of this immense sum; in which case neither legal contest nor any other cause of delay could have interfered with his aims. But let us assume that Mr. Tilden's millions finally become the means of giving to this city a noble public library, where the treasures of the world contained in books will be open to all forever, without money and without price. Considering the good of that part of the race which congregates in and around Manhattan Island, would its permanent benefit have been better promoted had these millions been allowed to circulate in small sums through the hands of the masses? Even the most strenuous advocate of Communism must entertain a doubt upon this subject. Most of those who think will probably entertain no doubt whatever.



. . .

Thus is the problem of Rich and Poor to be solved. The laws of accumulation will be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted [to make another responsible] for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself. The best minds will thus have reached a stage in the development of the race which it is clearly seen that there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year by year for the general good. This day already dawns. But a little while, and although, without incurring the pity of their fellows, men may die sharers in great business enterprises from which their capital cannot be or has not been withdrawn, and is left chiefly at death for public uses, yet the man who dies leaving behind many millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away " unwept, unhonored, and unsung," no matter to what uses he leaves the dross [something that is worthless] which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced."



Such, in my opinion, is the true Gospel concerning Wealth, obedience to which is destined some day to solve the problem of the Rich and the Poor, and to bring ' Peace on earth, among men Good-Will."




  • What is the “age” Carnegie is talking about? The Gilded Age or the Industrial Revolution. Students should note the date given on the first page.



  • What is a “harmonious relationship”? Students should differentiate this meaning from other meanings of harmony, and identify that Carnegie is talking here about bettering relations between rich people and poor people.



  • What does Carnegie mean by “the administration of wealth”? The notion of “administering wealth” is not explained until later in the text. At this point students should be given a chance to grapple with this idea, with teachers explaining that the class will return to it later.

Note to Teacher: The idea that some parts of a text might not be understood until further into the text is important for students to understand as they learn to engage with more complex text.

  • What is the “...change which has come with civilization” that Carnegie alludes to here? In the past the “chief” and his “retainers” were very similar in their “...dress, food and environment.” This is no longer the case. The rich now live in mansions and the laborers in cottages.



  • What is Carnegie saying about this change and “civilization”? He is saying that this change “comes with civilization.” This means that, according to Carnegie, when there was no civilization the “chief” and his “retainer” or follower were very much equal (“...little difference”). The difference only came – according to Carnegie – with civilization.



  • What is “this change” that Carnegie refers to in the first sentence of the paragraph to the left? Students should see that this refers to the previous paragraph’s point that in the modern world, the rich and poor live differently—but that this was not always the case.



  • Carnegie makes a number of points in this paragraph; explain each of these (there should be about five or six).

  1. The change is “beneficial.”

  2. Some people’s homes should have the “best in literature and the arts,” as this is better than none having it, which is what used to be. That some have this is “...essential for the progress of the race....”

  3. This “irregularity” is better than “universal squalor,” or everyone being poor, which used to be the case.

  4. Without wealth, there would be no art, “…no Maecenas…” Ask students what this might mean. With discussion, students should see that there is a relationship between wealth and the arts in society. Ask, for example, what the effect on the arts would be if nobody had any “extra wealth.”

  5. The past, “…the good old times…,” were not so good.

  6. “A relapse to old conditions…” would be “disastrous,” especially to workers, “not the least so to him who serves.”

Note to the Teacher: This paragraph and this question should be used to point out to students that complex text is often dense in information and ideas, and that is one reason why it requires multiple, careful readings.

  • What is the “condition of affairs” in the first sentence here, and what are the “best interests” which Carnegie states this promotes? The “condition of affairs” refers to the “great irregularity” or unequal distribution of wealth that Carnegie has been discussing. The “best interests” refers to the notion that this unequal distribution of wealth is better than “universal squalor” and is therefore, “…pronounced good…” and is in the “…best interests of the race.”



  • Carnegie states, “...the laws upon which Civilization is founded have thrown it {wealth} into the hands of the few...” What is he claiming are these “laws”? What does “law” mean in this context? This is a difficult question as it involves tracing Carnegie’s ideas from when he first states the “…conditions of human life have been revolutionized…” in paragraph two to “…this change is highly beneficial…” in paragraph three to “the laws upon which Civilization is founded” in the above paragraph. In each case Carnegie is referring to the accumulation and unequal distribution of wealth, which have “revolutionized” human life for the good (“highly beneficial”). In the above paragraph, he goes further by saying this unequal distribution of wealth and the benefits it bestows are a “law of civilization.”

Note to the Teacher: Students may not be familiar with the notion of a “law” of civilization. If asked to address this they will likely realize that Carnegie is not talking about laws made by governments and enforced by police. With further thought some students will see that he is talking here about a principle or idea about how societies or civilizations work. Once students reach this understanding, teachers should point out that Carnegie is making the claim here that unequal accumulation of wealth as a “...law of civilization” is the way civilization comes from non-civilization. In other words, this is the way we become civilized. Teachers should point this out as an example of how we can learn from close reading and how students can do this on their own as they get better.

  • What is the main question that Carnegie is posing here? Carnegie is asking what we do with this wealth which only a few people have, “… administering wealth… thrown into the hands of the few”? Some students might also note that Carnegie is saying this is the only question we need address.



  • What differences between types of wealth does Carnegie define? He distinguishes between “fortunes” and great wealth, “...not moderate sums... the aim of all to acquire.”




  • What is “surplus wealth”? Money that goes beyond what a family needs to get by on a daily basis.



  • What are the two most common things that happen to “surplus wealth” after a person dies, according to Carnegie? It is inherited, or it is given away to charities or taken by the government after the wealthy person died.



  • What does Carnegie mean by inheriting wealth is a “burden” to male children? What evidence does he provide for this? “… impoverished through their follies… work more for the injury than for the good.” He believes they will not act wisely and waste the money, while only harming themselves. Students should see that Carnegie’s evidence is what he himself has seen or perhaps heard of from speaking with others: “Observation teaches that...” At some point the question of what exactly “observation” means here, and whether it is sufficient evidence, should be discussed.



  • Why does Carnegie believe that wives and daughters should receive moderate “allowances”? Women at the time weren’t allowed to work and would have to marry to support themselves.

Note to Teacher: This is a point that must be inferred by the reader, and is dependent upon prior knowledge of the century. Many students would know that in this period few wealthy women worked. However, students might infer this even if they did not have the background knowledge or if that knowledge was not terribly secure or “at their fingertips.” If this is the case, the posing of the question itself and students attempt to answer it might serve the purpose of bringing the background knowledge to the fore or inferring that this is likely the reason Carnegie is stating this. In this way students are acquiring the background knowledge from careful reading.

  • Rewrite the last sentence in the paragraph to the left so that it isn’t a double negative… i.e. put it in the positive! Or, explain what the last sentence means.

There are many cases where what the testator wants to happen, doesn’t; others involved in the process prevent the original wishes of the deceased. Carnegie is saying here that these two means don’t work out in practice.

Note to Teacher: Point out to students that the last sentence is a double negative. This sentence structure is frequently difficult to comprehend, and requires multiple readings. Encourage students to rephrase the sentence so that it is a positive statement.



  • Why does Carnegie believe that there should be a tax on “...large estates left at death...”? Carnegie believes that the community or the state should be able to use the wealth that has been accumulated. The state deserves its “proper share.”



  • What did Carnegie mean by “...such taxes should be graduated…”? This refers to the idea that the rate or percent of the tax should increase according to the amount of money or wealth the deceased has accumulated. Students might recognize this as similar to the way income taxes work. This can be determined from the context: “…beginning at nothing upon moderate…increasing rapidly as the amounts swell…”



  • Ultimately, what did Carnegie hope the effect of a tax at death would be? Carnegie hoped that by doing this, wealthy people would give away their money while they were alive: “to induce the rich man to attend the administration of wealth during his life.” By doing this the wealth would be put to more efficient use, as he notes in previous paragraphs.




  • In the paragraph to the left, Carnegie addresses a criticism that might be made against this argument. What criticism is this, and how does he address it? Carnegie addresses the argument that a tax on wealthy people’s money might cause them to not work so hard to accumulate their wealth. A death tax would “sap the root of enterprise” and cause people to be “less anxious to accumulate” wealth. He addresses this potential criticism by saying that wealthy people will want to do this, “...for the class whose ambition it is... it will attract even more attention...” Teachers should point out here that Carnegie is making an argument and a good argument should anticipate and address criticisms.



  • What is Carnegie saying is the, “…duty of the man of wealth...”? To live modestly: “…set an example of…modest living….” To modestly support those dependent upon him: “…legitimate wants of those dependent…” To administer, using his judgment, the “surplus revenues…for the, ‘poorer brethren’ which he can do better than they “could for themselves.”



  • What is Carnegie saying is another, alternative mode of dealing with excess wealth? “in the form of wages” i.e. paying people more. In other words, instead of the person of great wealth “administering” this excess wealth while alive and as he sees fit, he would instead raise wages or pay more to those working for him.



  • Why does Carnegie consider this mode less desirable? Carnegie is saying here that increasing wages is not as good as wealthy people administering their wealth: “it would be wasted in the indulgence of appetite,” i.e. frivolous spending by those who are given these wages (the workers).



  • What were Mr. Tilden’s actions and why does Carnegie disagree with them? He made a large, charitable donation upon his death, which got tied up legally. Teachers should point out that this goes back to Carnegie’s earlier argument that this money should be administered by the men who earned it.



  • In this last paragraph Carnegie summarizes his argument. What main points does he review?

The laws of “accumulation” will be left free. This means there will be no laws made to stop people from acquiring great wealth. Carnegie calls this “individualism.”

Men of wealth will use their accumulated wealth for the general good: “administering for the community,” “for the general good,” … care for others.” They can do this better than the community, “...would have done for itself....”

The people who know the most, “...the best minds,” will realize that this is the best way. Carnegie is getting at the idea that the “best minds” will soon see this is the best thing to do with surplus wealth.


  • Why does Carnegie consider his plan a “gospel”? He is saying that just as religion is supposed to bring “peace on earth” and “happiness,” his plan will do the same. This gives greater weight to his argument.





Part III: The Culminating Activity
ANALYSIS: As a class we will review the following questions:


  1. What is the key argument that Carnegie is making in this piece?

Students should recognize that he is arguing that the wealthy have earned their wealth, have a duty to help others, and should do so as they best see fit, as they are superior. There is also religious grounding in his argument




  1. How does he develop his argument?

Students should be able to identify these main chunks of the text:



  1. Describes the effects of the industrial revolution on income and income distribution

  2. Analyzes what is beneficial about these changes

  3. Describes and analyzes current ways of handling great wealth, poses question of how it should be handled

  4. Supports the growing idea of a death tax, but also says that this alone is not sufficient i.e. rather than a death tax, which he says is inefficient, we need to have wealthy administer their wealth as they see fit while alive.

  5. Responds to arguments outside of text (Capitalism & Communism)

  6. Proposes his argument – administer it oneself

  7. Problem of other modes




  1. What evidence does he provide?

Students should be able to pull these main illustrations used by Carnegie to support his arguments, and they should also be able to identify the points of argument used in their response to the focusing question:



  1. The palace and the cottage

  2. Squalor and Maecenas of Rome

  3. Inheritors (male vs. female) and the public need

  4. Death tax does benefit society

  5. Doesn’t sap the root of enterprise

  6. Because the wealthy are superior for having earned

  7. Wasted in indulgences – The Cooper Institute

  8. Mr. Tilden – legal disputes

Then, independently, write a paragraph to answer the following focusing question. Cite specific evidence from the text to support your claims. Please e-mail your response as an attached Word document.


Do you believe the evidence provided is sufficient to support Carnegie’s argument?

RESEARCH: Conduct research using two resources to address the following essential question in a five paragraph essay. You must document your research process and share it with me. Include an MLA Works Cited and parenthetical citations in your essay.
Carnegie argues that in his age there is a “…temporary unequal distribution of wealth.” Was it temporary? Compare the difference between the wealthy and the poor today to the age of Carnegie?

This Close Reading and Culminating Activity address Common Core Reading Standards #1-6, 9 & 10; Writing Standards #1, 4, & 7-9.


Appendix A: Selected Vocabulary List


The role of vocabulary in this lesson set:

The chart below lists the vocabulary words the teachers who wrote this lesson identified as important to understanding the text for this lesson.


It is important to note the very high number of words recommended for instruction in these passages, more than many of us have been used to teaching. This reflects the importance of vocabulary to comprehending the complex text called for by the CCSS. Students who are behind need to learn even more words. This can only happen if we can teach word meanings efficiently; devoting more time and attention to those words that merit it, and less to those that can be learned with less time and attention. Clearly, there will not be time in the few days of this lesson set to explicitly and extensively teach all the words listed below. Many of the words, however, can be taught quickly, while others deserve explicit and lengthy examination. Teachers should make intentional choices based on professional judgment, the needs of students, and the guidance provided below.
The organization of the charts below:

Each vocabulary word below has been categorized based on the question: “Can students infer the meaning of the word from context?”

The definitions of many words can be inferred in part or in whole from context, and practice with inferring word meanings is an integral part of instruction. The words in the first group have meanings which can be inferred from context within the text. Words in this category are printed in bold below and in the scaffolded version of the student text provided above. Definitions for these words have not been provided here; instead of directly providing definitions for these words draw students’ attention to these word and ask them to try to infer the meaning.

Words in the second group have meanings, or are being used in ways, which cannot reasonably be inferred from context within the text alone. These words are printed in underline, here and in the text, and their definitions are provided in the margins of the text for student reference.



Determining which words to spend more time on

As mentioned above, some words must be taught extremely quickly, sometimes in mere seconds by providing a quick definition and moving on. Other words are both more difficult and more important to understanding this text or future texts and hence deserve time, study, discussion and/or practice. In using this lesson exemplar, teachers will need to determine for themselves which words from the list above deserve more time and which deserve less. Use the guidelines below to help you determine which words to spend more time on. In addition the additional vocabulary resources listed in Appendix B below can help you learn more about selecting and teaching vocabulary.


Quicker and easier to learn — words that are concrete, have only one meaning, or are limited to a specific topic area, such as fires or the ocean etc. These words should be addressed swiftly, when they are encountered and only as needed.

Take more time and attention to master — words that are abstract, represent concepts unlikely to be familiar to many students, have multiple meanings, are a part of a word family, and/or are likely to appear again in future texts. These words require more instructional time.

Selected Vocabulary List

Words that can be inferred from text

Ask students to generate a definition




Words that cannot be inferred from text

Provide these definitions to students

Vocabulary Word




Vocabulary Word

Definition

harmonious




nay

archaic; not only that but also

retainers




Maecenas

this is an allusion to Rome, he was a wealthy patron of the arts

deplored




competence

adequacy; possession of required skills

squalor




follies

absurd or foolish action

modes




thwarted

to prevent something

surplus




disposition

changing of thought patterns

decedents




graduated

divided into stages

bequeathed




moderate

not large, or too small

public purposes




render

to make

injudicious




antidote

something that reduces effects or helps solve a problem

monarchial




reconciliation

ending of conflict

unimpaired




Cooper Institute

a philanthropic organization

futility




entrusted

to make another responsible

testator




dross

something that is worthless

salutary







deprived




condemnation




accumulate




indulgence





Appendix B: Additional Vocabulary Resources



Hungry for more vocabulary? Check out the Academic Word Finder.
The words in the list above were selected by an expert teacher as valuable to teach in the context of this lesson. But these are just some of the many words you could draw from this passage to help your students build their vocabulary. If you are interested in a tool which can quickly help you identify more of the high-value, Tier 2 academic vocabulary words that appear in this passage, visit the free Academic Word Finder at http://achievethecore.org/academic-word-finder/ (registration required).
Please note: Some of the words you will find with this tool will not overlap with those listed above.
This is a good thing, because it points out even more words that can help your students! The list above focuses on words crucial to understanding the key points of the passage and includes both Tier 2 and Tier 3 words, whereas the Academic Word Finder focuses on high-frequency Tier 2 words which will be valuable to your students across a variety of texts, (but which may not be particularly central to the meaning of this passage). These words often have multiple meanings or are part of a word family of related words. In addition the Academic Word Finder provides multiple related words and the variety of shades of a word’s meaning all in one location, so teachers can see the depth and diversity of word meanings they can teach around a word. Teachers then decide how and when to expose students to different word senses to promote their vocabulary growth.
Both sources of words are valuable, but for different purposes. Ultimately you will have to rely on your professional judgment to determine which words you choose to focus on with your students.
Eager to learn more about how to select and teach vocabulary? Check out Vocabulary and The Common Core by David Liben.
This paper includes a summary of vocabulary research and practical exercises to help you learn to select and teach vocabulary. Written by classroom veteran and literacy researcher David Liben, the exercises will help you hone your professional judgment and build your skill in the vocabulary teaching crucial to success with the Common Core State Standards.
Download the paper and exercises here:

http://achievethecore.org/page/974/vocabulary-and-the-common-core-detail-pg



achievethecore.org



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