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Was Darwin a Social Darwinist Charles Darwins On the Origin of Species was published in 1859 In it Darwin described the idea that animals evolved through variation and natural selection of those most fit to endure in particular environments In 1871 Darwin applied this theory directly to human beings in The Descent of Man Before either of these two works was published Herbert Spencer was already contemplating the questions of evolution and progress Spencers ideas received a substantial boost from Darwins theories and Spencers theories became generally known as Social Darwinism Although very similar in name Darwinism and Social Darwinism have very little in common aside from a few basic concepts By understanding the main ideas behind Darwinism and Social Darwinism the fact that Social Darwinists have incorrectly applied Darwins original theories is made clear In On the Origin of Species Darwin presented his idea that species evolve from more primitive species through the process of natural selection which occurs spontaneously in nature No one supposes that all the individuals of the same species are cast in the very same mould Darwin 113 Rather individuals have variations and some of these variations make their bearers better tailored to particular ecological conditions The accumulation of adaptations to a particular ecological system leads to the development of separate species each adapted to its own natural area The publication of On the Origin of Species was followed in 1871 by The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex In On the Origin of Species Darwin laid forth his theory of evolution in relation to animals it wasnt until The Descent of Man that Darwin presented his ideas on human evolution Darwin was aware that his theory would shock his contemporaries even without the inclusion of humans for this reason he reserved his thoughts on human evolution until The Descent of Man Alland 3 Darwin plainly states in The Descent of Man that man
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