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How was Social Darwinism used to justify imperialism?

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Social Darwinism played a key role in the prominence and justification of imperialism. Social Darwinism emerged in the mid-to-late 1800s as the major tenets of Darwinism, namely the concept of natural selection and the idea of survival of the fittest, were applied to sociology and geopolitics.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species explained natural selection as the basis for evolution, where the organisms who have the qualities most desirable for sexual selection and survival will pass on their genes and associated genetic mutations on to future generations.

Humans applied this same theory to different cultures, and the individuals making up those cultures. Cultures with the most money, the most industrial advancement, and the largest militaries are viewed as the “fittest” while smaller, more shut-in cultures are viewed as less “fit.”

The justification for imperialism comes into play because the larger, primarily Western cultures believed their way of life was categorically...

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