Gospel of Wealth Should the WEALTHY help the poor?

The Biltmore, representing the wealthy, is on the left vs. a picture from the book "How the Other Half Lives", representing the poor, is on the right.

One wealthy entrepreneur, such as Andrew Carnegie, was of the belief that the wealthy should provide for the poor in the form of public places. Carnegie became a great philanthropist in providing libraries and theaters for everyone to attend. Carnegie believed it was his moral obligation to provide for the public good with his wealth. This lead to him writing his book The Gospel of Wealth.

This quote was the basis of Carnegie's belief

“Williams Jennings Bryan was an early socialist in that he believed that the government should provide for the poor, maintain roads, telegraphs, and railroads, and that there should be an income tax depending on the amount of wealth, placing the heaviest taxes on the most wealthy.”

Jacob Riis was a leader in arguing that the wealthy had an obligation to help the poor. Riis’ primary method of argumentation was by photographing the slums of New York using new photography methods at the time, and presenting said photos to the public and upper class. Riis’ photographs clearly displayed the horrific conditions that many of the poor were living in at the time, with many families living under one, cramped, and putrid roof. Riis’ efforts proved fruitful, as his photographs generated public support for the poor, which lead to many improvements for the poor at the time, such as more living space and improved sanitation.


  • "The Gospel of Wealth." American Eras. Vol. 8: Development of the Industrial United States, 1878-1899. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 343-344. U.S. History in Context. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.
  • "The Mixed Crowd." Immigration and Multiculturalism: Essential Primary Sources, edited by K. Lee Lerner, et al., Gale, 2006, pp. 94-98. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2688400050/UHIC?u=jack17425&xid=4f415b07. Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.
  • http://achievethecore.org/page/37/the-gospel-of-wealth-by-andrew-carnegie
  • https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/24/1e/59/241e59df8a5596d2135cc2a63b15521d.jpg
  • http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/pioneering-social-reformer-jacob-riis-revealed-how-other-half-lives-america-180951546/
  • http://f--f.info/?p=9467
  • https://prezi.com/m/ujpptxkbauhb/william-jennings-bryan/

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