Essay about Social Darwinism - 688 Words
Social Darwinism Essay - 813 Words - StudyMode
Racial purification is only one possible end of eugenics, the term Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911), gave to the concept of improving human society through reproductive controls. Galton was a pioneer in studies on hereditary traits, researching genetic patterns in traits such as fingerprints. Eugenics is from the Greek word eugenav, which means “wellborn.” In its least controversial forms, this could mean choosing partners for procreation who have particular desirable traits, such as strength, health, and intelligence. It becomes more questionable when individuals and then groups of people are categorically denied the right to reproduce, such as through the sterilization of mental patients. Social Darwinism, in seeking to eliminate the weaker members from the gene pool, justifies denying these individuals the right to reproduce. A healthy society would be free of disease. If certain diseases, temperaments, and even work ethic and productivity habits are determined to be heritable traits, then denying these traits from being passed on to future generations would be toward the improvement of the society as a whole. If the weak are destined to be eliminated through natural selection regardless, then actions toward this end are neither contrary to nature nor outside of the right of stronger individuals to impose. The evolutionary account of human development places people within the animal kingdom biologically. Humans are not outside of nature. People are agents who can act and make decisions according to their own will, but anything we do is within the bounds of nature, regardless. Social Darwinism sees eugenics as simply hastening the inevitable natural selection process.
Social Darwinism Essays - StudentShare
Racist ideas were not uncommon to American thought in the late 19th century, with intellectuals such as John Fiske (1842–1901) and Darwin himself publicly endorsing racial supremacy. Fiske said that the domination of British and American Caucasians over the rest of the world, be it civilized or what was understood as “barbaric” at that time, attested to the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. Darwin believed that women were inferior to men and that Blacks (or African Americans) were among the least evolutionarily developed human beings. Social Darwinists frequently referenced this assertion when defending the application of their theory to justify racism, including later Nazi efforts to advance the perfect race and Jim Crow laws that endorsed discrimination through segregation in the southern United States through the 1960s, 100 years following the official end to slavery in this country.