Social Inequality In William Graham Sumner's View Of Social Life

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William Graham Sumner, a Yale graduated sociologist, became a prominent figure in the world of Social Darwinists. Social Darwinism was a theory that tried to apply Charles Darwin’s biological law of natural selection to the human race. Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection explained that some animals and plants are better adapted to their environment than others, allowing them to strive more than others. On the other hand, Social Darwinists believed these same rules applied to humans and used the basis of his argument to justify the social inequalities during the time period. Sumner expressed his views on this subject in an essay written in the late nineteenth century. Although his views are socially destructive, in today’s terms, these…show more content…
However, his subtle implication of blacks during the nineteenth century can be seen by those who have read his essay carefully. In the text, Sumner states, “Nature is entirely neutral; she submits to him who most energetically and resolutely assails her. She grants rewards to the fittest, therefore, without regard to other considerations of any kind” (34). In simpler terms, Sumner is explaining that mother nature has no regard to any individual characteristics that may put someone in a place of sub-ordinance, like race. Sumner continues his vague implications by stating, “Nature still grants her rewards of having and enjoying, according to our being and doing, nut it is now the man of the highest training and not the man of the heaviest fist who gains the highest reward. It is impossible that the man with capital and the man without capital should be equal”(35). Also, prior to this statement, Sumner discusses how he opposes the idea of liberty and equality. Everything that Sumner was opposed to, was everything that African Americans were striving for during the nineteenth century. Lastly, Sumner’s view of women, the poor, and African Americans are clearly unscientific. Mainly because there was no way of proving his thoughts. Everything was purely based off of assumption and systematic restrictions. In order for this idea to be deemed as scientific, it must be something that is not only

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