Social Darwinism

Social DarwinistSocial Darwiniansocial DarwinistsSocial-Darwinistsocially DarwinisticDarwinianDarwinian capitalismDarwinisticDarwinistsdirect descendants of Darwin and Spencer
Social Darwinism is any of various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, claiming to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics.wikipedia
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Imperialism

imperialistimperialisticimperial
Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.
The purportedly scientific nature of "Social Darwinism" and a theory of races formed a supposedly rational justification for imperialism.

Nazism

NaziNazisNational Socialism
Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.
Nazism subscribed to pseudo-scientific theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race.

Survival of the fittest

survivalstruggle for existencecompete for food and mates
Social Darwinism is any of various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, claiming to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics. The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase "survival of the fittest", a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.
Though Spencer’s conception of organic evolution is commonly interpreted as a form of Lamarckism, Herbert Spencer is sometimes credited with inaugurating Social Darwinism.

Fascism

fascistfascistsFascist regime
Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.
Social Darwinism, which gained widespread acceptance, made no distinction between physical and social life, and viewed the human condition as being an unceasing struggle to achieve the survival of the fittest.

Émile Gautier

Emile GautierEmilie Gautier
The social Darwinism term first appeared in Europe in 1880, and journalist Emilie Gautier had coined the term with reference to a health conference in Berlin 1877.
He coined the term "social Darwinism".

Richard Hofstadter

Hofstadter, RichardRichard HofstaderRichard J. Hofstadter
The term was popularized in the United States in 1944 by the American historian Richard Hofstadter who used it in the ideological war effort against fascism to denote a reactionary creed which promoted competitive strife, racism and chauvinism.
It was a commercially successful (200,000 copies) critique of late nineteenth-century American capitalism and its ruthless "dog-eat-dog" economic competition and Social Darwinian self-justification.

Herbert Spencer

SpencerSpencerianSpencer, Herbert
However, some scholars argue that Darwin's view gradually changed and came to incorporate views from other theorists such as Herbert Spencer. The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase "survival of the fittest", a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.
Given the primacy which Spencer placed on evolution, his sociology might be described as social Darwinism mixed with Lamarckism.

Sociocultural evolution

socioculturalsocial evolutionismcultural development
Hypotheses of social evolution and cultural evolution were common in Europe.
Some forms of early sociocultural evolution theories (mainly unilineal ones) have led to much-criticised theories like social Darwinism and scientific racism, sometimes used in the past to justify existing policies of colonialism and slavery and to justify new policies such as eugenics.

Sociology

sociologistsociologicalsociologists
The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase "survival of the fittest", a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.
Lastly, as argued by Raewyn Connell, a tradition that is often forgotten is that of Social Darwinism, which brings the logic of Darwinian biological evolution and applies it to people and societies.

Benjamin Kidd

Kidd
The expansion of the British Empire fitted in with the broader notion of social Darwinism used from the 1870s onwards to account for the remarkable and universal phenomenon of "the Anglo-Saxon overflowing his boundaries", as phrased by the late-Victorian sociologist Benjamin Kidd in Social Evolution, published in 1894.
Kidd is characterized as a "social darwinist".

Ernst Haeckel

HaeckelErnst Heinrich HaeckelHaeckel, Ernst
An important proponent in Germany was Ernst Haeckel, who popularized Darwin's thought and his personal interpretation of it, and used it as well to contribute to a new creed, the monist movement.
He became a key figure in social darwinism and leading proponent of scientific racism, stating for instance:

Darwinism

DarwinianDarwinian evolutionDarwinist
The term draws upon the common meaning of Darwinism, which includes a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms.
What is now called "Social Darwinism" was, in its day, synonymous with "Darwinism"—the application of Darwinian principles of "struggle" to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda.

Natural selection

selectionselectiveselected
Social Darwinism is any of various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, claiming to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics. The term draws upon the common meaning of Darwinism, which includes a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms.
Herbert Spencer and the eugenics advocate Francis Galton's interpretation of natural selection as necessarily progressive, leading to supposed advances in intelligence and civilisation, became a justification for colonialism, eugenics, and social Darwinism.

Scientific racism

biological racismscientific racistrace science
Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.
In the early 1930s, the Nazis used racialized scientific rhetoric based on social Darwinism to push its restrictive and discriminatory social policies.

Competition

competitorcompetitionscompetitive
Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.
Some social Darwinists claim that competition also serves as a mechanism for determining the best-suited group; politically, economically and ecologically.

Positivism

positivistpositivisticpositivists
In many ways, Spencer's theory of cosmic evolution has much more in common with the works of Lamarck and Auguste Comte's positivism than with Darwin's.
The early sociology of Herbert Spencer came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted (in vain) to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as socially Darwinistic terms.

Auguste Comte

ComteComteanAuguste Compte
In many ways, Spencer's theory of cosmic evolution has much more in common with the works of Lamarck and Auguste Comte's positivism than with Darwin's.
The early sociology of Herbert Spencer came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as socially Darwinistic terms.

Charles Darwin

DarwinDarwinianCharles Robert Darwin
The term draws upon the common meaning of Darwinism, which includes a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms. Scholars debate the extent to which the various social Darwinist ideologies reflect Charles Darwin's own views on human social and economic issues.
The term "Social Darwinism" was used infrequently from around the 1890s, but became popular as a derogatory term in the 1940s when used by Richard Hofstadter to attack the laissez-faire conservatism of those like William Graham Sumner who opposed reform and socialism.

Wilhelm Ostwald

Friedrich Wilhelm OstwaldOstwaldFriedrich Ostwald
Haeckel's works led to the formation of the Monist League in 1904 with many prominent citizens among its members, including the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald.
He used the Alliance's forum to promote Social Darwinism, eugenics and euthanasia.

Evolutionism

evolutionistevolutionistsevolution
The term draws upon the common meaning of Darwinism, which includes a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms.

Gilded Age

The Gilded AgeGilded EraGilded-Age
In the United States, writers and thinkers of the gilded age such as Edward L. Youmans, William Graham Sumner, John Fiske, John W. Burgess, and others developed theories of social evolution as a result of their exposure to the works of Darwin and Spencer.
Nevertheless, many business leaders were influenced by Herbert Spencer's theory of Social Darwinism, which justified laissez-faire capitalism, competition and social stratification.

New Imperialism

neo-imperialismimperialismcolonialists
Critics have frequently linked evolution, Charles Darwin and social Darwinism with racialism, nationalism, imperialism and eugenics, contending that social Darwinism became one of the pillars of fascism and Nazi ideology, and that the consequences of the application of policies of "survival of the fittest" by Nazi Germany eventually created a very strong backlash against the theory.
While Social Darwinism became popular throughout Western Europe and the United States, the paternalistic French and Portuguese "civilizing mission" (in French: mission civilisatrice; in Portuguese: Missão civilizadora) appealed to many European statesmen both in and outside France.

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

mutual aid
Peter Kropotkin argued in his 1902 book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution that Darwin did not define the fittest as the strongest, or most clever, but recognized that the fittest could be those who cooperated with each other.
It is an argument against theories of social Darwinism that emphasize competition and survival of the fittest, and against the romantic depictions by writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who thought that cooperation was motivated by universal love.

Social effects of evolutionary theory

Social implications of the theory of evolutionSocial effect of evolutionary theoryopposition and support
The theory of evolution by natural selection has also been adopted as a foundation for various ethical and social systems, such as social Darwinism, an idea that preceded the publication of The Origin of Species, popular in the 19th century, which holds that "the survival of the fittest" (a phrase coined in 1851 by Herbert Spencer, 8 years before Darwin published his theory of evolution) explains and justifies differences in wealth and success among societies and people.

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex

The Descent of ManDescent of ManThe Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex
In The Descent of Man he gave some powerful pages to illustrate its proper, wide sense.
In this section of the book, Darwin also turns to the questions of what would after his death be known as social Darwinism and eugenics.