American Philosophy

Social Darwinism

Who were the main Social Darwinists?

William Graham Sumner (1840–1910), professor at Yale, was the American version of the English evolutionist Herbert Spencer (1820–1903). Sumner was a strong advocate of unrestricted capitalism. He was famous for his essay “The Man of Virtue,” which promoted self-interest as a primary duty for individuals. The industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) built on these ideas in his “The Gospel of Wealth,” which further enshrined the “law of competition” as a natural principle of progress.

Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution were adapted to Social Darwinism (Art Archive).

This is a web preview of the "The Handy Philosophy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App