Social Darwinism Essay

Social Darwinism Essay

Length: 1192 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


     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 intellectuals. People applied Darwinism and its belief in survival of the fittest to all areas of life. They used it as a “natural law” which supported their actions and beliefs. Advocates manipulated the scientific doctrine to fulfill their personal needs and to justify religious beliefs, capitalism, and military conquests.

      Darwinism greatly impacted the scientific world purely through its specific doctrine. The enlightenment had paved the way for rational thinking and observation. People were willing to accept scientific data as fact and they were able to objectively consider theories that went against the church. Because of the story of creation, Darwinism would have been immediately rejected only a few centuries earlier. People used Darwinism as a weapon to strike at the validity of the powerful religious institutions of the period. It was because of the many drastic changes in the beliefs of the people and the advancement of the logical world that Darwinism was well accepted as a scientific truth.

     Beyond the exact definition of Darwinism, many people found personal applications to the scientific doctrine. Not only was survival of the fittest an established truth in nature, it was also more than evident in human society. Many people, after reading the benefits associated with reproduction of the strong, began to place human activity under the scrutiny of science. Those who found that the principles of Darwinism advocated their personal goals in society took great lengths to spread the word of Social Darwinism. This was a doctrine that called for free competition among humans and a setting in which the domin...


... middle of paper ...


... to become a shaping force in European thought.

     Darwinism as it applies to nature was successful and widespread simply because of its own merit. It was aided by the circumstances of the time in which reason and science were held in high regard, but the facts stood firm by themselves. Social Darwinism, however, became a definitive philosophy of the time because it was applicable to most areas of life. People manipulated the laws of nature to create laws of society that forwarded their personal goals. It was used to justify ruthless and cunning behavior because competition was seen to cultivate growth under Darwin’s principles. Because leisure time had led to people’s participation in the art of conversation, the issues of the period became a part of the average person’s life. They discussed the controversial topics such as capitalism, socialism, and military campaigns. In discussing these issues, people cited Darwin’s principles and therefore Darwinism spread throughout Europe. It was difficult to avoid the new philosophy because it had such an important role in the major controversies of the day, and it was an inherent argument in the lectures and publications produced.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Social Darwinism and Race Superiority In The West Essay

- Social Darwinism was a set of theories developed by various people during the 19th century. It was the adaptation of Darwin theory of evolution applied to human social behavior and ability to survive compared to other human beings. It can now easily be seen that these theories could be used to justify racial discrimination and they have been used in this way throughout history. This misconception of Darwin’s theories popularized by various academics in the west gave western nations to treat other nations badly....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
2028 words (5.8 pages)

The Development of Social Darwinism Essay

- 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....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
1787 words (5.1 pages)

Social Darwinism is NOT Science Essay

- Charles Darwin is NOT responsible for Social Darwinism. War and oppression have always been components of human history, however with the introduction of Darwin's theory of evolution man had a new justification for his cruelty. Darwin's ideas promoted a "superman" or "super-race" philosophy. The prime component of Darwin's ideas revolves around the notion that life progresses by natural selection - the survival of the fittest. Couple this with the racist culture in the scientific world of his day and you have the reason to pursue any exploitive agenda....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
775 words (2.2 pages)

Social Darwinism in American Politics Essay

- Introduction 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: In these years, when Darwin's Origin of Species, popularized by Herbert Spencer as "the survival of the fittest, " and applied to races as well as species in a vulgarized form, Social Darwinism, the coming Christian triumph was presented as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant one....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Social Darwinism in Cyberpunk Literature

- In the 1870s, the English sociologist Herbert Spencer applied Charles Darwin's theories of biological evolution to human behavior and institutions. Spencer used the idea of survival of the fittest in biology and theorized human society had evolved the same way (Cooper 15). Social Darwinism, as Spencer's theory is called, pits everyone against each other to survive in the world where humans are soldiers in a war for survival. If a person is poor, it is their fault and no one should help that person rise above the poverty status....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
1291 words (3.7 pages)

Conservatism Supports Social Darwinism Essay

- Social Darwinism is the belief that the individual is more powerful than society. It encourages a ruthless system of self-interest and intolerant treatment of others. Those who believe in Social Darwinism believe that the society is inferior to the needs of the individual. Often those who believe in Social Darwinism are racist and believe that the white origin is the superior race of society. Social Darwinism is the opposite of socialism. Socialists believe that society comes before the individual while those who follow Social Darwinism believe the individual comes before society....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Free Essays
470 words (1.3 pages)

Essay about The Role of Social Darwinism in European Imperialism

- Social Darwinism fueled imperialism by making imperialistic nations believe that their imperialistic ventures were a natural turn of events and not a cruel, opressionistic system of government. These imperialistic nations exploited other nations and cultures and their troops’ motivation was the glory of the nation and the eradication of the weaker races on earth. These soldiers believed in Social Darwinism. Also, nations were able to become imperialistic because of the support of their people....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

Charles Darwin, Social Darwinism, and Imperialism Essay

- England went through dramatic changes in the 19th century. English culture, socio-economic structure and politics where largely influenced by the principles of science. Many social expressions occurred due to these changes. Transformations which categorized this time period could be observed in social institutions; for instance: the switch from popular Evangelicalism to atheism, emergence of feminism and the creation of new political ideologies (Liberalism, Conservatism and Radicalism). These are just a few of the changes that took place....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
511 words (1.5 pages)

Essay about Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States

- The interplay and relationship between Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States typify the nation's struggle to make the best of a capitalist society, while at the same time correcting pitfalls. Social Darwinism in our capitalist society compares wealth with fitness, but historically, unregulated markets given the false sanction of natural law have proven out that Darwinist economic competition has a destructive side for society. The role of raw power, the frequency of failure and the spirit of want has out of necessity, fostered a fiscal and monetary policy defined as social welfare, in order to conserve some commitment and core of resistance to the corrosive impact of ma...   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
1245 words (3.6 pages)

Social Darwinism Essay

-      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....   [tags: Social Darwinism Essays]

Strong Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)