The Washington Post

Carnegie still trying to combat ‘foulest blot upon our civilization,’ 100 years later

Just months after his 75th birthday, Andrew Carnegie gathered 28 leaders and presented them with a gift of $10 million in steel bonds to “hasten the abolition of war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.” Three months later, the trustees elected Elihu Root as president and selected the name Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The headquarters were directly across from the White House in a part of what is now Blair House, and the division of labor was international law, the study of war and international understanding and cooperation.

Since then, a number of organizations have had their roots in the Carnegie Endowment, including the International Crisis Group, Migration Policy Institute and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. For more than two decades, Foreign Policy (now a part of The Washington Post family of publications) was housed at CEIP. It was among the first think tanks to open international offices and it created one of the first internship programs at Washington think tanks with notable alums George Stephanopoulos and Samantha Power.

There are plenty of Carnegie “firsts” which are cataloged nicely in a 100-year retrospective.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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