Essay on Social Darwinism And Eugenics During The 19th Century

Essay on Social Darwinism And Eugenics During The 19th Century

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The British Empire was a period of , but it was only this way due to their imperialistic views and the exploitation of people within the Empire. Even though the British Imperialism of the late 19th century/early 20th century brought great wealth, knowledge, and technological advancements, but at the expense of others. Britain had to find a way to justify their ‘superiority’ over these other countries….. Scientists and social scientists created many sciences, including social Darwinism, eugenics, phrenology, and polygenism. Many historians have argued whether or not these sciences were proposed in order to justify the British Empire or not. These pseudo-sciences were constructed to rationalize the imperialism during the 19th century. This paper will discuss two of the most influential sciences produced during the late 19th century, Social Darwinism and Eugenics that were used to justify British Imperialism and how they supported imperialism. I will also discuss how Social Darwinism and Eugenics worked together.
Even though many of the sciences were formally constructed in the late 1800s the ideologies and theories – White is the supreme race, non-White people are inferior, White people were the ones who had all the achievements in the world - the sciences were created from had been discussed a long time before. The idea of race superiority has existed since but at that time it was supported by religion and God. In the early 16th century, a Swiss physician named Paracelus developed a theory stating that God created the white race as the superior race, and created a hierarchy of races arranged by God. This theory was the main contributor to polygenism. The move to supporting these ideologies by logic and reason came during the Age ...


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...and the Negro’s inferiority and closeness to the ape were made to seem ‘natural.’ In 1868, Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist published a book named Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (which translates to Natural History of Creation in English)

(In the top left hand corner is a European man, signifying him as the most superior, and the rank goes down to the Negro man, who is right next to the ape.)

(Part of conclusion) While, yes, these theories about race superiority and inferiority had been around for ages, it wasn’t until the late 19th century during the peak of British imperialism when these theories were used to create sciences to justify the empire. These sciences were produced to justify imperialism in a credible way because it would have been hard to try to discredit science, especially since social Darwinists and eugenicists had ample, but skewed, evidence.

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