Darwinism And Imperialism

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Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution i.e. “survival of the fittest” and the “process of natural selection“, was written in 1859 and was a theory based on the behaviour of animals. This theory was adapted by Herbert Spencer and resulted in the ideology that is known today as Social Darwinism. The latter is based on Darwin’s theory but instead of being based on animal behaviour it is applied to humans. It implied that certain races were superior to others because of their technological advancements. This lead people to believe that certain races, such as white/European people, were the “fittest” of all the races. This assumption was based on the fact that “more civilized” meant more technologically advanced. Social Darwinism offered an explanation for the unequal technological development across the world. This gave rise to belief that there was a “hierarchy” of races and that the Europeans were at the top of the hierarchy. Imperialists used genetics as a justified explanation to why white people were more superior to other races. Darwin believed that animal species was adapting and changing to environments in the process of evolution. Never did Darwin suggest that this was meant to apply to humans and their societies, cultures and races. However although the theory adapted by Herbert Spencer, and originally created by Darwin, contributed towards imperialism and colonisation it was not the sole cause of it. Colonisation and European imperialism was inevitable due to the

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