Social Darwinism Research Paper

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Social Darwinism arose in America during the Industrial Revolution; it applied Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution: survival of the fittest. This ideology lead people to believe that only the tough will achieve glory in society. However, in the 1890’s a new philosophy arose-- progressivism. Progressives believed that societal problems (things like greed and racism) could be eliminated by providing better societal conditions-- good education, efficient workplaces, and a safe environment. Because of their differing foundations , these ideologies conflicted in many ways at the time. Social Darwinism is essentially Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution applied to society. Darwin theorized that nature randomly picks which species will survive…show more content…
According to , progressives were “enamored by science and efficiency.” Opposite of social Darwinists, progressives believed that the greed of corporations and the corruption of political figures led to the destitution of many communities. Also, rather than applying the theory of evolution like social Darwinists, progressives studied the poverty-stricken communities and discovered that there were also higher concentrations of disease in poor communities. The progressives eventually came to the conclusion that the problem was the conditions in which the poor families lived and worked.The high costs of housing forced people into small unsanitary tenant houses. In order to combat the continuation of this, congress enacted the Tenement House Act of 1901. The act called for the improvement of things like ventilation and fire safety of tenant houses. However, according to Crash Course, some progressives were weary that too much progress economically would only worsen the unequal distribution of wealth which would only be fixed by taxes. Furthermore, many progressives felt that all of America’s citizens would benefit from Industrialization and would enjoy the amount of free time acquired from the invention of labor-saving machines. However, despite this positive outlook many actually feared that industrialization would actually limit freedom rather than increase it. Finally, the Social Darwinists and Progressives had very different ideas about the causes of poverty. Social Darwinists saw it as something that is dependent on the individual , while progressives felt it was more dependant on the socio-economic standing of the individual. Social Darwinists were also more drastic in their feats of eliminating poverty, go as far as taking children from poverty stricken
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