Social Darwinism is a set of ideologies introduced by Herbert Spencer in the nineteenth century. These principles were used by imperialists as a means of justification and proof of their right to colonize land overseas. Social Darwinism is an immoral evil that cannot be ethically justified. To further understand the immorality behind using Social Darwinism and the even greater immorality behind using it as an excuse for overseas expansion, we must understand the origins and foundations of which Social Darwinism is based. It all began with an English man named Charles Darwin and his newly introduced perspective on the evolution of life.
European nations along the west coast of Africa for 300 years have traded slaves, gold, and ivory. During the 1500-1800 Europeans in Africa would mostly buy and sell slaves. Europeans started to gain interest in the continent and shifted to imperialism, and started seizing colonies. What was the rationale behind strong European countries conquering weaker European countries. I believe the three main reasons were Social Darwinism, Economics, and Nationalism.
The concept of Social Darwinism was a widely accepted theory in the nineteenth-century. Various intellectual, and political figures from each side of the political spectrum grasped the theory and interpreted it in various ways. In this paper, we will discuss three different nineteenth-century thinkers and their conception of Social Darwinism. The conservative, Heinrich von Treitschke, and liberal Herbert Spencer both gave arguments on the usefulness of competition between people on a global scale. The anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, refuted the belief of constant competition among members of the same species and emphasized mutual aid.
Social Darwinism is a popular social evolution theory in 19 century propounded by Herbert Spencer. It refers to notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies, which show no sympathy for those unable to support them. Rationalized by the notion that colonized nations, poor people, or disadvantaged minorities must have deserved their situations because they were “less fit” than those who were better off.
Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, a scientific theory that supported the belief of evolution, was manipulated and applied to different areas of life, and thus it became the shaping force in European thought in the last half of the nineteenth century. Darwin, through observation of organisms, determined that a system of natural selection controlled the evolution of species. He found that the organisms that were most fit and assimilated to the environment would survive. They would also reproduce so that over time they would eventually dominate in numbers over the organisms with weaker characteristics. This new theory was radical and interesting to the scientific world but its effects reach far beyond this small institution of
Many individuals with disabilities, including physical disabilities, have been treated harshly throughout history. Physical disabilities were thought about and viewed differently in history than they are viewed today. Many things that people do not see as a physical disability, today, were seen as a physical disability in the past. These people were discriminated, murdered, and even experimented on.
Darwin and Evolution are inextricably linked in the minds of most people who have had the opportunity to study them in basic biology. However, Darwin's theories of selection and survival of the fittest have been applied to moral, economic, political, and other cultural aspects of society. Dennett briefly touched on some of the political and social ramifications of Darwin's theories in the final chapter of Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Other philosophers and thinkers have also adapted Darwin's evolutionary ideas, in order to apply them in a societal or cultural context. One great example of this adaptation of the biological concept of evolution, is the appearance of Social Darwinism during the 19th century.
Social Darwinism is a theory that competition among all individuals, groups, nations or ideas drives social evolution in human societies. The term draws upon Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, where competition between individual organisms drives biological evolutionary change through the survival of the fittest. The term was popularized in 1944 by the American historian Richard Hofstadter, and has generally been used by critics rather than advocates of what the term is supposed to
Social Darwinism is a theory that individuals, peoples, and groups are subject to darwinian laws of natural selection. Another way to describe social darwinism is survival of the fittest. The strongest and the smartest will survive. It is now largely discredited, it was advocated in the late 19th and early 20th century by Herbert Spencer and others. It was used to justify political conservation, imperialism, to discourage intervention and reform and racism. This theory was used to support the laissez faire capitalism and political conservatism.
In 1859, Charles Darwin published his most famous work, On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection (Encarta 96). This book explained Darwin's theory of natural selection, a process not unlike separating the wheat from the chaff, where the least fit are eliminated, and only the fittest survive. An extension of this theory known as Social Darwinism emerged in the late 19th century. "Social Darwinists believed that people, like animals and plants, compete for survival and, by extension, success in life" (Encarta 96). Under this theory, the individuals who acquire the power and wealth are deemed the fittest, while those of lower economic and social levels are considered the least fit (Griffin
Already in the late 19th century, the American Federation of Labor had begun to represent a growing segment of the American population discontented with the status quo of corporate exploitation. At the onset of the 20th century however this message began to take particular weight, as evidenced by the tripling of the AFL’s membership and the rise of the Industrial Workers of the World. Labor unions, the Socialist Party and progressives as a whole took issue with the doctrine of Social Darwinism and moved forward as a somewhat united front with the goal of bringing meaningful change to American society.
Social Darwinism began in the late 19th century and early 20th century during the time of The Gilded Age and earlier. Herbert Spencer was a 19th century philosopher and he promoted the idea of Social Darwinism. It basically followed the principle that only the strong would survive and prosper. While this period the technology and economy and government of the
The aftermath of the Industrial Revolution left America’s economy and cities in a prosperous state. Immigrants flocked to the United States in search of the American Dream, and rising cities like Chicago thrived off of the meat packing and steel industries. However, the American Dream for many newcomers wasn’t all that it seemed; corrupt political bosses and machines ruled major city politics, making the working and living conditions of immigrants employed for these corporations unsubstantial. After going undercover in a meat packing plant, muckraker Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1906 to expose the repulsive conditions that the lower class worked in. An initial reading of this piece focuses strongly on the ideas of a capitalistic society
Social Darwinism is a quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious, quasi-sociological view that came from the mind of Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher in the 19th century. It did not achieve wide acceptance in England or Europe, but flourished in this country, as is true of many ideologies, religions, and philosophies. A good summary of Social Darwinism is by Johnson:
The theory of social Darwinism was used to justify European imperialism. “It is an application of the theory of natural selection that says ‘only the strong survive’, to human issues that are social, political, and economic.”