Homework Help

Explain how the concept of Social Darwinism was used to justify conditions in the 1800s.

user profile pic

kristenmarieb... | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 6, 2012 at 4:44 AM via web

dislike 2 like

Explain how the concept of Social Darwinism was used to justify conditions in the 1800s.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 6, 2012 at 5:02 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

The major condition in the 1800s that Social Darwinism was used to justify was the condition of massive inequality of wealth.  Social Darwinism justified this by arguing that the people got the status in life that they deserved.

Social Darwinism held that human society was subject to natural selection (survival of the fittest) just as Darwin said nature was.  Social Darwinists argued that those who became rich in human society were the ones who were the most "fit."  Those who became poor got that way because they were not "fit."  Social Darwinists argued, then, that the massive inequality of wealth that occurred during the "Gilded Age" was a natural consequence of human inequalities.  This meant that the government should not try to do anything to reduce inequality since inequality was simply natural.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes