Thre Views of Social Darwinism

1696 WordsJun 25, 20187 Pages
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. Heinrich von Treitschke's defense of Social Darwinism was a direct result of his view on the…show more content…
To Treitschke, society would only have a place for Jews if they decided to convert to Christianity and assimilate to the culture of their respective European nation – implying that the Christian European was superior to that of the Jew. English liberal Herbert Spencer gave his own defense of Social Darwinism and conflict between human beings. Spencer believed that competition between animals helped advance their spieces to a higher level over a long period of time; he extended this argument to humans and warfare. Much like Treitschke, Spencer argued that warfare and competition between humans had exemplified the ability to root out the weak from the earth. The world to Spencer was a continual struggle between the strong and intelligent, to that of the weak and feeble-minded – resulting a continual progression of intellect and honing of the senses. According to Spencer, if societies were not able to adapt to compete, they would cease to exist. Spencer believed that wars of primitive man were necessary because they were instrumental in developing the structure of their growing societies. As a result of war, tribes were encouraged to confederate, confederations gave way to small nations, and large nations progressed into large advanced

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