Charles Darwin, The Most Influential Nineteenth Century Evolutionary Thinker

1176 Words May 26th, 2016 5 Pages
In the 19th century, scientific research progressed rapidly outside the world of industry and technology (McKay 744). British scientist, Charles Darwin, was the most influential nineteenth-century evolutionary thinker. Darwin spent his early career, amassing enormous amounts of biological and geological data from his voyage to South America (Fiero 3). In 1859, he published his classic work, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, where he summarizes his theory of evolution with the thought of struggle for survival, or natural selection. Furthermore, natural selection is the idea of groups of species surviving through generations by adapting to changes in the environment and using certain characteristics as an advantage. In addition, natural selection challenged traditional ideas about nature and world order, and it was also taken steps further by many thinkers. English philosopher, Herbert Spencer, saw the human race driven forward to ever-greater specialization and progress by a brutal economic struggle that determined the “survival of the fittest” (McKay 745). The notion of a body of thought drawn from the ideas of Charles Darwin that applied the theory of biological evolution to human affairs and saw the human race as driven by an un-ending economic struggle that would determine the survival of the fittest defines Social Darwinism (McKay 745). As European and American upper class sought to extend political and economic power, Social Darwinism proved to…
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