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Social Darwinism in American History Toward the end of the 19th century the United States entered a period of growth and industrialisation An abundance of natural recourses cheap labour supply and a self-sufficient food supply contributed to the industrialisation of the United States This time was known as the American Industrial Revolution Due to the growing prosperity of the United States the American people in general adopted a heavily opportunistic and an excessively materialistic view towards life Charles Darwin a British naturalist developed a theory of evolution through the process of natural selection His ideas were presented to the public through several manuscripts that he wrote towards the late 19th century The Origin of the species was one such manuscript in which Darwin presented his idea that species evolve from more primitive species through the process of natural selection When Charles Darwins The Origin of Species reached the United States following its publication in 1859 the reading public quickly gave it a popular reception The Americans had observed the disarray over political issues in the period before and during the Civil War and had experienced many hardships later during the Reconstruction in the South They were now ready to listen to theories that allowed them to enjoy their great recently settled continent and the new industries that sprang up within it It was during this age of rapid and remarkable change that Darwins theories were popularised in the United States Darwin developed a theory of evolution through natural selection in which only the fittest would survive Although Charles Darwin himself did not write about social factors such as human behaviour in society his theories were open to interpretation His ideas were moulded and eventually evolved into a theory known as Social Darwinism Social Darwinists believed that people like animals compete for survival and those who become rich and powerful are the fittest while those left behind in the lower classes must necessarily
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