Imperialism And Social Darwinism

A struggle for existence emerges when more individuals are produced than the earth can sustain. In every case the individual competes with another species, the physical conditions of life, or most significantly, with another member of the same species (Darwin. pg. 63). Charles Darwin and his radical ideas on natural selection sparked immediate controversy in Britain. However, as the upper class began to digest his ideas as an asserted power of science, they applied it to economics, society, and politics, forming social Darwinism. Darwin’s evolutionary theory presented in The Origin of Species was manipulated and applied to human society to justify imperialism and racism. An organism’s struggle for existence explains why some species’ characteristics …show more content…
Spencer and other “Social Darwinists” became strong lobbyers for Laissez-faire economics. They felt that to give Britain the means evolve into an industrial society, businesses needed to be able to operate with little government interference. Spencer was influential in applying Darwin’s ideas to social evolution, relating his theories about competition amongst species to social life, justifying his coined term, “survival of the fittest”. The growing gap between the rich and the poor in Britain was not only justified by social Darwinism and the idea of “the survival of the fittest”, but encouraged. In order to ensure that Britain was composed of only hardworking, motivated, and intelligent people, Spencer and other Social Darwinists fought for the discontinuation of welfare. Redistributing resources from the most fit members to the least fit would violate natural order and allow the prolongation of less fit members, encouraging laziness and rewarding the unskilled. Spencer supported little government inference so that the “unfit” would receive no welfare, in order to not prevent them from dying out. He uses very harsh language in attempt to justify the abet death of orphans, widows, minorities, and the sick in Social Statistics. In accordance to Spencer, his words only “seem hard”, but when …show more content…
Overlooking the impoverished and spiteful natives, Britain saw India as a perfect opportunity for self-liquidation and imperialism. In the midst of a horrific famine in India, Britain stepped in with efforts to “civilize” the country. Aside from the lasses-faire economic policy imposed on India, missionaries sought to also change India culturally. Their goal was to turn Indians into “Brown Englishmen”, ultimately giving them all the skills needed to attain freedom and sustain their country alone (Wasson 190). Not only did Britain strive to reproduce the same economic and social situations as in Britain, but they sought to spread English culture and religion. However, India did not want nor ask for help from Britain, thus creating tensions that eventually broke out into protests and a brutal war for independence. Social Darwinism engrained an impression of empirical dominance and superiority into the minds of the British, leading them to feel obliged to interfere in India and other struggling countries. Looking back, it seems that Britain only brought more tragedy to India as they watched as millions of Indians perished from starvation in the 19th century. There was little to no aid provided by Britain to help the impoverished, starving Indians, for laissez-faire economics and social Darwinism ideals prohibited it. The British

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