England went through dramatic changes in the 19th century. English
culture, socio-economic structure and politics where largely influenced by the
principles of science. Many social expressions occurred due to these changes.
Transformations which categorized this time period could be observed in social
institutions; for instance: the switch from popular Evangelicalism to atheism,
emergence of feminism and the creation of new political ideologies (Liberalism,
Conservatism and Radicalism). These are just a few of the changes that took
place. All of this social alteration can be attributed to the importance of
science. The English people began to trust more in empiricism and logical
thought than in faith and glory of the empire . One who contributed greatly to
this transformation was Charles Darwin. In his two most famous works, The
Origin of Species and The Decent of Man, Darwin introduces the concept of "the
survival of the fittest" and "natural selection".
The Darwinian ideas introduced into English society justified a great
number of political policies and social movements. England at the turn of the
century was still a largest power in the international system. The English
perceived, through the justification of Darwinism, they were fit to be the
imperial hegemon in the world. The issue this essay will deal with is
Imperialism and how Darwinism justified its practice. Darwin argued in his work,
The Decent of Man, "When civilised nations come into contact with barbarians
the struggle is short except where a deadly climate gives its aid to the native
race. . . the grade of civilisation seems to be a most important element in
success in competing nations."(Darwin, Decent of Man, p. 297).
In this observation, Darwin connotated superiority to civilized nations.
In this same work, he referred to the indigenous people as "savages,
barbarians and tribal men". This immediately transfers a condescending... [continues]
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