An introduction to the analysis of social darwinism in american history

In principle it includes any political system inspired by the view that human nature and social activity are driven by our biological nature, especially as defined by the process of evolution. The complexity of the topic derives from the fact that the term social Darwinism has been applied to a number of different and to some extent incompatible ideologies.

An introduction to the analysis of social darwinism in american history

Introduction Social Darwinismterm coined in the late 19th century to describe the idea that humans, like animals and plants, compete in a struggle for existence in which natural selection results in "survival of the fittest. Some social Darwinists argue that governments should not interfere with human competition by attempting to regulate the economy or cure social ills such as poverty.

Instead, they advocate a laissez-faire political and economic system that favors competition and self-interest in social and business affairs. Social Darwinists typically deny that they advocate a "law of the jungle. The term social Darwinist is applied loosely to anyone who interprets human society primarily in terms of biology, struggle, competition, or natural law a philosophy based on what are considered the permanent characteristics of human nature.

Social Darwinism characterizes a variety of past and present social policies and theories, from attempts to reduce the power of government to theories exploring the biological causes of human behavior.

Many people believe that the concept of social Darwinism explains the philosophical rationalization behind racism, imperialism, and capitalism. The term has negative implications for most people because they consider it a rejection of compassion and social responsibility.

Origins Social Darwinism originated in Britain during the second half of the 19th century. Darwin did not address human evolution in his most famous study, On the Origin of Specieswhich focused on the evolution of plants and animals.

He applied his theories of natural selection specifically to people in The Descent of Mana work that critics interpreted as justifying cruel social policies at home and imperialism abroad. The Englishman most associated with early social Darwinism, however, was sociologist Herbert Spencer.

Spencer coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" to describe the outcome of competition between social groups. In Social Statics and other works, Spencer argued that through competition social evolution would automatically produce prosperity and personal liberty unparalleled in human history.

In the United States, Spencer gained considerable support among intellectuals and some businessmen, including steel manufacturer Andrew Carnegie, who served as Spencer's host during his visit to the United States in The most prominent American social Darwinist of the s was William Graham Sumner, who on several occasions told audiences that there was no alternative to the "survival of the fittest" theory.

Critics of social Darwinism seized on these comments to argue that Sumner advocated a "dog-eat-dog" philosophy of human behavior that justified oppressive social policies. Some later historians have argued that Sumner's critics took his statements out of context and misrepresented his views.

An introduction to the analysis of social darwinism in american history

Hereditarianism Studies of heredity contributed another variety of social Darwinism in the late 19th century. In Hereditary GeniusSir Francis Galton, a British scientist and Darwin's cousin, argued that biological inheritance is far more important than environment in determining character and intelligence.

This theory, known as hereditarianism, met considerable resistance, especially in the United States. Sociologists and biologists who criticized hereditarianism believed that changes in the environment could produce physical changes in the individual that would be passed on to future generations, a theory proposed by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in the early 19th century.

Afterhereditarianism gained increasing support, due in part to the work of German biologist August Weismann. Weismann reemphasized the role of natural selection by arguing that a person's characteristics are determined genetically at conception. The Struggle School Toward the end of the 19th century, another strain of social Darwinism was developed by supporters of the struggle school of sociology.

English journalist Walter Bagehot expressed the fundamental ideas of the struggle school in Physics and Politicsa book that describes the historical evolution of social groups into nations. Bagehot argued that these nations evolved principally by succeeding in conflicts with other groups.In the United States, historian John Fiske and naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan drew from the principles of social Darwinism to advocate foreign expansion and the creation of a strong military.

V. Reform Darwinism.

Social Darwinism - Sociology - Oxford Bibliographies

After , social reformers used Darwinism to advocate a stronger role for government and the introduction of various social policies. American Imperialism: A term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States on other countries.

Expansion and Power “American imperialism” is a term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States on other countries. Historical and Social Sciences movies and television pleasant forms of entertainment Analysis Skills Compare an essay on anger management and health the beliefs Analyze the similarities the significance of the themes in george orwells and differences between the ideologies of Social Darwinism and Asokan.

Color blindness is the disregard of. Chapter One: The Sociological Perspective Learning Objectives and history (social factors that influence the individual). Sociology grew out of the social, political, economic, and technological revolutions of the The current state of sociology encompasses social analysis and social reform, with a.

The Role of Darwinism in Nazi Racial Thought Richard Weikart Historians disagree about whether Nazis embraced Darwinian evolution.

U.S. Political Thought

By examining Hitler’s ideology, the official biology curriculum, the writings of Nazi anthropologists, and Nazi periodicals, we find that Nazi racial theorists did indeed embrace human and racial evolution.

Introduction. The history of sociology is both a traditional area of sociology itself and a part of the history of the social sciences as studied by intellectual historians and historians of science.

Social Darwinism