Join our community

Learn Morecaret down

caret down

Join our community

Fiveable Community students are already meeting new friends, starting study groups, and sharing tons of opportunities for other high schoolers. Soon the Fiveable Community will be on a totally new platform where you can share, save, and organize your learning links and lead study groups among other students! 🎉

group of students
group of students

ap euro study guides

🧐  Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

📋  Short Answer Questions (SAQ)

7.4 Darwinism and Social Darwinism

#darwin

#socialdarwinism

#racism

⏱️  2 min read

written by

Bretnea Turner

bretnea turner

Dylan Black

dylan black

(editor)

May 12, 2020


Darwinism

Charles Darwin published On the Order of Species in 1859, after his observations in a series of trips to the Galapagos Islands brought him to question what gave some species dominance over others. He came up with the Theory of Natural Selection, in which a species evolves over a large period of time to maintain existence. 

Essentially, natural selection is the basic idea of “survival of the fittest.” In this theory, a species doesn’t have to be dominant over all, just dominant over its most immediate threat to survive.

Social Darwinism

In 1871, Darwin published The Descent of Man, which applied the basic theory of natural selection and evolution to the human species. Social Darwinism is an ideology that applies the “survival of the fittest” mentality to human relationships and society.

Social Darwinism was used to support racial ideas and imperialist tendencies. At that time, scientific experimentation and theories were used to support the dominance of the white race over others. It was believed that the white race was more advanced socially, therefore should be most qualified to overpower other races outside of Europe.

A good example of this is Rudyard Kipling’s White Man’s Burden. This poem explains it is the burden of the most intelligent, strongest, most righteous of men to “take care” of natives and their possessions. Basically, it isn’t just okay for Americans and Europeans to colonize, it is their duty.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F_The_White_Man's_Burden__Judge_1899.png?alt=media&token=f5cc7db4-7d6e-40e9-b8e0-50cf699f5de8

Racism

Racism had long existed in Europe. Some of the first discrimination of non-white people is displayed in Renaissance writings. 

The belief in racial stereotypes was transformed when it became associated with biological sciences. Most notably, that of Charles Darwin and the theory of Social Darwinism. Darwin and his followers argued that all people were subject to the same rules of natural selection, creating a hierarchy of superior and inferior humans based on race.

One example is Pears Soap advertisements. These ads run in the early 19th century in Britain claimed that they could “cleanse” skin of dark pigmentation. This is seen in the image:

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2Fkaufmann-mercantile-com-1.jpeg?alt=media&token=bd3db09d-8f58-4718-8cae-b9bd77a455ae

During the late 19th century and 20th century, Jews were treated more as a race than an ethnicity. The rise of anti-Semitism became more noticeable as nations defined themselves according to common histories, language, and religion. Jews were excluded from society in many places in Europe, most notably, Germany, and were subject to the same stereotypical beliefs of racism. Many Europeans believed that the Christian faith was superior to the Jewish faith. 

🎥 Watch: AP European History - 19th Century -isms

continue learning

Slide 1 of 10
Fiveable

Join Our Community

Fiveable Community students are already meeting new friends, starting study groups, and sharing tons of opportunities for other high schoolers. Soon the Fiveable Community will be on a totally new platform where you can share, save, and organize your learning links and lead study groups among other students!🎉

Fiveable Logo

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211

92% of Fiveable students earned a 3 or higher on their 2020 AP Exams.

*ap® and advanced placement® are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

© fiveable 2020 | all rights reserved.