The Development of Social Darwinism Essay

The Development of Social Darwinism Essay

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The theory developed by Charles Darwin in 1859 in his book The Origin of Species is considered not only one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever but, also a system of knowledge that revolutionized the fundamental patterns of thought. This discovery was the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution shattered old beliefs and philosophies and imposed the necessity for building new ones. Two of the great ideologies that developed from Charles Darwin's theory of evolution are Darwinism and Social Darwinism. These two ideologies are often linked to each other and to some extent are intertwined in each other.

Charles Darwin was born in 1809 to a wealthy English family(Darwin, 2004). He began a journey after his graduation from Cambridge that would lead him and eventually the world to a new way of thinking. This journey began in 1831, when Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle as an unpaid naturalist on a scientific expedition around the world (Darwin). On this journey Darwin made many observations, including those on the Galapagos Islands, where he discovered that each island supported its own form of animals each closely related but, different in structure and eating habits from island to island (Darwin). These observations led Darwin to question the possible links between distinct but similar species. Darwin had through his observations came to a possible explanation for evolution.

Darwin had also, been influenced by T.R. Malthus's book An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), which suggested to him the idea that "on the whole the best fitted live" (Claeys, 2000). Darwin's application of his observations on the HMS Beagle and his insight into Malthus's writings led him to write The Origin of Species in 1859. Th...


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Retrieved March 10, 2004 from http: /www.trincoll.edu/zines/tj/tj11.13.97articles/ cover.html

Ruse, Michael. (1999). Evolutionary Ethics: What Can We Learn From. Zygon, vol. 34, no. 3, 435-451.

"Social Darwinism." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2004. http: //encarta.msn. com

Stove, David. (1996). Darwinism's Dilemma (part II: Hard Man). Retrieved March 10, 2004 from http: //www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/838468/posts

Weikart, Richard. (1995). A Reality Discovered Darwin Letter On Social Darwinism. From The History of Science Society, vol. 86, 609-611.

Weikart, Richard. (1998). Laissez-Faire Social Darwinism and Individualist Competition in Darwin and Huxley. From The European legacy, vol. 3, no. 1, 17-30.

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