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Social Darwinsim History Essay, Research Paper

Social Darwinism History

Social Darwinism and its usage to Justify Business Practices of the 19th and

twentieth century.

Thesis: The demand for a justification of tremendous wealth of a few and an

impossible poorness of 1000000s was, as many tend to believe, fulfilled by

the outgrowth of a theory called Social Darwinism, which on one manus was

regarded as a primary defence of concern activities, and on the other, was

nil more than a myth.

I. Definition and beginning of Social Darwinism

A. Contribution of Charles Darwin

1. Natural choice

2. Survival of the fittest

B. Derivation of Social Darwinism

C. First Social Darwinists

1. Herbert Spencer

2. William Graham Sumner

II. Changes in American Society

A. Growth of the industry

B. Myth of the ego made adult male

1. John D. Rockefeller

2. Andrew Carnegie

III. Overemphasis on Social Darwinism

A. Rarely used by enterprisers

B. Relied on Christian and other statements

During the late 19th, and early twentieth century, the United States experienced a

growing of industry like it has ne’er seen earlier. New patents and innovations

flourished. New merchandises flooded the market. While 1000s of hapless,

hungry, and unemployed crowded the streets, the rich were busy exposing

their tremendous wealth. Even though the demand for reform was overpowering,

for the bulk of Americans, nil was being done. The large foremans were

able to purchase off the politicians and carry them to vote in their favour. While

the rich were acquiring richer, and the hapless acquiring poorer, the politicians

watched. The demand for a justification of the tremendous wealth of a few and an

impossible poorness of 1000000s was, as many tended to believe, fulfilled by

the outgrowth of a theory called Social Darwinism, which on one manus was

regarded as a primary defence of concern activities, and on the other, was

nil more than a myth. Social Darwinism, the experts say, & # 8220 ; was a

ephemeral theory of societal development, smartly discussed in America,

which rationalized and justified the rough facts of societal stratification in an

effort to accommodate them with the prevailing political orientation of egalitarianism. The

outgrowth of Social Darwinism was possibly the most seeable consequence on the

societal scientific disciplines of Charles Darwin & # 8217 ; s The Origin of Species & # 8221 ; ( Tax and Krucoff

402 ) . In simple footings, Social Darwinism was an application ( many believe a

misapplication ) of Charles Darwin & # 8217 ; s Torahs of development and natural choice to

human society. In his most celebrated book The Origin of Species, Darwin

included four major statements: that new species appear ; that these new

species have evolved from older species ; that the development of species is the

consequence of natural choice ; and & # 8220 ; that natural choice depends upon fluctuations

and the care of fluctuation in malice of the inclination of natural choice

to extinguish & # 8216 ; unfit & # 8217 ; discrepancies & # 8221 ; ( 403 ) . Darwin explains the procedure of natural

choice in these words:

As many more persons of each species are born that can perchance last ;

and as, accordingly, there is a often repeating battle for being, it

follows that any being, if it vary nevertheless somewhat in any mode profitable to

itself, under the complex and sometimes variable conditions of life, will hold

a better opportunity of lasting, and therefore be of course selected. From the strong

rule of heritage, any selected assortment will be given to propagate its new

and modified signifier ( Darwin 21 ) .

Harmonizing to Darwin, natural choice is depended on the battle for

being among persons. Any being that is able to obtain the

necessary resources, frequently at the disbursal of other beings, will last,

reproduce and base on balls on the & # 8220 ; favored & # 8221 ; qualities onto it & # 8217 ; s offspring ( the

& # 8220 ; rule of heritage & # 8221 ; ) . In short, the weak, & # 8220 ; unfit & # 8221 ; will decease, and the strong,

will go on its being. This whole theory was summarized in one laconic

phrase & # 8211 ; & # 8220 ; endurance of the fittest. & # 8221 ; For about a decennary before Darwin & # 8217 ; s The

Beginning of Species was the first published in 1859, a good educated

Englishman named Herbert Spencer had been composing about the philosophy of

development. He was foremost of all time to utilize the popular phrase & # 8220 ; endurance of the fittest & # 8221 ;

and was among the first to use the philosophy of development to human society.

Along with William Graham Sumner, they portrayed the society as an sphere

in which persons struggled and where the fittest survived. They agreed

that from within societies, the business communities proved to be the fittest. Sumner

one time said, & # 8220 ; The work forces who have non done their responsibility in this universe ne’er can be

equal to those who have done their responsibility. & # 8230 ; The category differentiations merely

consequence from the different grades of success with which work forces have availed

themselves of the opportunities which were presented to them. & # 8221 ; Their philosophy

stated that the authorities should non interfere, and assist the less fit ( and by

making so aching the society ) . It should keep a laissez faire policy. There

could be no Torahs to assist the hapless. There could be no Torahs to modulate the

concerns & # 8220 ; for they created unreal barriers to natural choice of the

strongest firms. & # 8221 ; Competition would modulate the industry. Others followed

with their resistance to duties, trade ordinances, province banking, authorities

postal services etc, . ( Bryant, Jr. and Dethloff 253 ) . Those, at that clip really

controversial issues, brought them, but particularly Spencer, a batch of negative

promotion. In 1875, the economic expert John Elliott Cairnes announced that

Spencer & # 8220 ; transferred Torahs of physiology to the sphere of societal science. & # 8221 ; Ten

old ages subsequently, the Belgian sociologist, Emile de Laveleye added that Spencer

was & # 8220 ; dying to see the jurisprudence of the endurance of the fittest and of natural

choice adopted in human society. & # 8221 ; A figure of intellectuals and

sociologists had later accused Spencer and Summner of back uping the unjust

and & # 8220 ; viciously individualistic government of Spencarianism & # 8221 ; or Social Darwinism

( Bannister 34-36 ) There were of class bookmans who supported the thoughts of

Spencer and Sumner. Even Charles Darwin who in his The Origin of Species

purpously avoided the issues of societal development subsequently addressed them in his

book The Descent of Man in a cardinal chapter titled & # 8220 ; On the Development of the

Intellectual and Moral Faculties. & # 8221 ; Darwin recognized the statement that if one

were to use the Torahs of & # 8220 ; endurance of the fittest & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; natural choice & # 8221 ; to

society, should the society preserve it & # 8217 ; s weaker members? The cardinal transition

from The Descent of Man reads as follows: With barbarians, the weak in organic structure

or head are shortly eliminated ; and those that survive normally exhibit a

vigorous province of wellness. We civilized work forces, on the other manus, do our uttermost

to look into the procedure of riddance ; we build refuges for the idiot, the

maimed, and the ill ; we institute poor-laws ; and our medical work forces exert

their uttermost accomplishment to salvage the life of everyone to the last minute. & # 8230 ; Thus, the

weak members of civilised societies propagate their sort. No 1 who has

attended to the genteelness of domestic animate beings will doubt that this must be

extremely deleterious to the race of adult male. It is surprising how shortly a privation of attention,

or care wrongly directed, leads to the devolution of a domestic race ; but

demuring in the instance of adult male himself, barely anyone is so nescient as to let

his worst animate beings to engender ( qtd. in Bannister 30 )

Clearly, even Charles Darwin wasn & # 8217 ; t ignorant toward the logical thinking behind

Social Darwinism. He ne’er truly declared whether he to the full supported it or

were against it. Historians tend to believe that his sentiment laid someplace in

between ( Bannister 30-31 ) . Social Darwinism in United States goes manus in

manus with the Gilded Age and with the rise of the industry. The Gilded Age,

the period from 1865 to 1901, was an epoch of great industrial and economic

/ & gt ;

growing for America. It was an epoch of legion innovations and patents. It was

besides an epoch of utmost wealths for some, and of deplorable poorness for others. It

was an epoch of the & # 8220 ; Robber Barons & # 8221 ; , as Matthew Josephson called them. One

of such & # 8220 ; Robber Barons & # 8221 ; was John D. Rockefeller. With his nest eggs of

$ 5,000, at a really immature age John D. Rockefeller opened his first oil refinery.

At that clip oil was used merely for illuming and non many expected much more

of it. Rockefeller, nevertheless, guessed that oil would in a few old ages become one

of the most profitable industries. He was right & # 8212 ; within merely a few old ages,

oil was being used for warming, lubrication, fuel for ships and cars,

etc, . His dream was to command the whole oil industry in America. At age of

30 he founded the Standard Oil Co. of Ohio and bought over 25 refineries.

After merely a twosome of old ages, Rockefeller was one of the richest and most

powerful work forces on the planet. Rumor had it, that he & # 8220 ; had in the thenar of his

manus & # 8221 ; the best United States Senators and province legislative assemblies that money could

bargain. He non merely controlled over 90 % of the oil industry, but besides was able to

persuade railway proprietors to allow him particular menus on railway transit

( discounts ) . Rockefeller was ( what he and others called him ) a true Social

Darwinist. He believed that everyone was given the same chance, and

that merely those who were excessively lazy or excessively stupid were hapless. He argued that his

1000000s were a wages for difficult mundane work & # 8211 ; the celebrated phrase & # 8220 ; God

gave me my wealth & # 8221 ; or,

The growing of big concern is simply the endurance of the fittest. & # 8230 ; The

American Beauty rose can be produced in the luster and aroma which

conveying cheer to its perceiver merely by giving the early buds which grow up

around it. This is non an evil inclination in concern. It is simply the

working-out of a jurisprudence of nature and a jurisprudence of God. ( qtd. in Hofstadter 45 )

Andrew Carnegie & # 8217 ; s calling was similar to that of John D. Rockefeller. & # 8220 ; [ He ]

had three fortes: steel, doing money, and giving it off & # 8221 ; ( Cooke ) .

Carnegie was a boy of a hapless weaver, born in Scotland. In 1848 his household

came to America and settled in Pittsburgh. He started his calling at age of 12,

as a spool male child. Then he became a telegraph courier, a railway clerk, a

railway overseer, a manager, and so, steel entered his life. He created

a monopoly which throughout his calling brought him over 400 million

dollars. Carnegie opposed the formation of pools and trusts ; & # 8220 ; His preferred

solution to the jobs of consolidation was perpendicular integration. & # 8221 ; He

achieved about a entire control of the steel industry in the state. & # 8220 ; His route

to success was guess for accretion & # 8221 ; ( Cashman 66 ) . Similarly as

Rockefeller, Carnegie was besides a Social Darwinist. He was known to idealise

Herbert Spencer & # 8217 ; s theories of societal development. Carnegie wrote in & # 8220 ; Popular

Illusions About Trusts & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; [ The concentration of wealth ] is an development from

the heterogenous to the homogenous, and it is clearly another measure in the

upward way of development & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Bannister 79 ) . There of class were

others besides Carnegie and Rockefeller. Those two, nevertheless, were the most

celebrated and their callings most interesting. Possibly it & # 8217 ; s because they

represented the American myth of & # 8220 ; shreds to riches & # 8221 ; ; possibly because after

doing their 1000000s, they gave most of their lucks off. For Rockefeller

it was get downing the Rockefeller & # 8217 ; s Foundation or the edifice of the University

of Chicago. For Carnegie it was constructing libraries. & # 8220 ; Carnegie believed that a

adult male who dies rich, dies disgraced. By his agencies, he didn & # 8217 ; t decease disgraced & # 8221 ;

( & # 8221 ; Andrew Carnegie: The Principles Illustrated by his Career & # 8221 ; 5 ) . With clip,

many Americans came to believe that Social Darwinism was a main defence of

the unjust, pitiless and cut-throat concern patterns of the late 19th and the

early twentieth century. & # 8220 ; The great fiscal colossuss themselves seized on the

theories of Spencer and Sumner to warrant their places. & # 8230 ; Social

Darwinism appealed to business communities because it seemed to legalize their

success and confirm their virtuousnesss. It appealed to them because it placed their

activities within the context of traditional American thoughts of freedom and

individualism. & # 8221 ; ( Current 506-507 ) & # 8211 ; a citation from a history text edition. This

perceptual experience, Irvin G. Wyllie argues, is greatly overdone. In world, merely a

really few elect enterprisers like John D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie

on occasion used Social Darwinism as an statement to warrant their patterns.

Others, nevertheless, when called upon to warrant their activities, fell upon old

statements like Christian virtuousnesss and & # 8220 ; moral cliches, & # 8221 ; that in no manner

correlated with Social Darwinism ( Wyllie 157-169 ) . It & # 8217 ; s interesting to read

about work forces like Carnegie or Rockefeller, who regarded themselves as true

Social Darwinists. Work force who on one manus promoted the thought of modulating

industry by competition ( the really kernel of societal Darwinism ) , and on the

other devoted their lives to extinguishing competition from within their ain

industries. Work forces who spent two tierces of their lives rip offing, purchasing off

politicians, and turning tremendously rich at the monetary value of doing others hapless.

Work forces who so retired, and became altruists, and gave off 100s

of 1000000s of their lifetime net incomes. And eventually work forces who were & # 8220 ; studious & # 8221 ;

and intelligent plenty to utilize the theory of Social Darwinism to warrant their

ruthless and unjust concern patterns. Unfortunately, there were merely really

few work forces like that. Social Darwinism, was in fact merely a & # 8220 ; ephemeral theory & # 8221 ; ;

nil more than a greatly overemphasized myth, given much more recognition

than it really deserved.

Plants Cited:

& # 8220 ; Andrew Carnegie: The Principles of Industrial and Social Progress

Illustrated by His Career. & # 8221 ; The Monthly Bulletin Of the National City Bank

of New York, Sept. 1919. Bannister, Robert C. Social Darwinism: Science

and Myth in Anglo & # 8211 ; American Social Thought. Philadelphia: Temple U P,

1979. Bryant, Keith L. , and Henry C. Dethloff. A History of American

Business. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1990. Cashman, Sean D. America

in the Gilded Age: from the Death of Abraham Lincoln to the Rise of

Theodore Roosevelt. New York: New York U P, 1984. Cooke, Alistar.

Richard N. et Al. American History: a Survey. New York: Knopf, 1983.

Darwin, Charles. The Beginning of Species. New York: Random House, 1993.

Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought. New York:

George Braziller, Inc. , 1969. Krucoff, Larry S. and Sol Tax. & # 8220 ; Social

Darwinism. & # 8221 ; International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 1968 erectile dysfunction.

Wyllie, Irvin g. & # 8220 ; Social Darwinism and the Businessman. & # 8221 ; Pivotal

Interpretations of American History. Vol. II. ed.Carl N. Degler. New York:

Harper & A ; Row, 1966. 157-170.

7de

& # 8220 ; Andrew Carnegie: The Principles of Industrial and Social Progress

Illustrated by His Career. & # 8221 ; The Monthly Bulletin Of the National City Bank

of New York, Sept. 1919. Bannister, Robert C. Social Darwinism: Science

and Myth in Anglo & # 8211 ; American Social Thought. Philadelphia: Temple U P,

1979. Bryant, Keith L. , and Henry C. Dethloff. A History of American

Business. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1990. Cashman, Sean D. America

in the Gilded Age: from the Death of Abraham Lincoln to the Rise of

Theodore Roosevelt. New York: New York U P, 1984. Cooke, Alistar.

Richard N. et Al. American History: a Survey. New York: Knopf, 1983.

Darwin, Charles. The Beginning of Species. New York: Random House, 1993.

Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought. New York:

George Braziller, Inc. , 1969. Krucoff, Larry S. and Sol Tax. & # 8220 ; Social

Darwinism. & # 8221 ; International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 1968 erectile dysfunction.

Wyllie, Irvin g. & # 8220 ; Social Darwinism and the Businessman. & # 8221 ; Pivotal

Interpretations of American History. Vol. II. ed.Carl N. Degler. New York:

Harper & A ; Row, 1966. 157-170.

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