Imperialism in Western Civilization

Powerful Essays
Imperialism

Near the end of the nineteenth century, there was a sharp increase in the need for people of Western civilization to expand their way of life across the globe. Colonization had begun in the 1600s as a method of economic gain for European countries. The reasons for expansion in the late nineteenth century, however, had deviated from only economical prosperity. The notion that evolution as well as the belief in their racial and cultural superiority caused many white Europeans and Americans to assume that they, as a people, had the right and were destined to dominate the world and thus served as one of the central justifications for imperialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1859, Charles Darwin, a scientist from England, formulated the theory of evolution. His theory was composed of two ideas: variation and natural selection. Variation was explained to be certain biological characteristics that a creature possessed in order to survive. Certain creatures who had the positive, favorable traits equipped them better for survival as opposed to the individuals lacking them. Natural selection was the process in which a species that adapted better to the environment because of preferable physical or mental characteristics continued to evolve and what caused the weakest of the species who were lacking in these to perish. Many Europeans and Americans embraced the theory of evolution because it appealed to their firm belief in competition. People who subscribed to the theory of natural selection as a means of social progress were known as social Darwinists. One of the most famous of the social Darwinists was a British man named Herbert Spencer. His view was that “human societies evolve like plant and animal species and only the fittest, those able to adapt to changing conditions, survive” (Levack 490.) In one of Herbert Spencer’s writings, Social Statics: Liberalism and Social Darwinism, he states that “by destruction of all



Cited: Herbert Spencer, “Social Statics: Liberalism and Social Darwinism” (1891), in Dennis Sherman, ed., Western Civilization: Sources, Images, and Interpretations, 6th ed., 2 vols. (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004) Houston Stewart Chamberlain, “Foundations of the Nineteenth Century: Racism” (1900), in Dennis Sherman, ed., Western Civilization: Sources, Images, and Interpretations, 6th ed., 2 vols. (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004) Strong, Josiah Western Heritage, 2 vols.(New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1967), 2:317-20. Beveridge, Albert eds., A More Perfect Union: Documents in U.S. History, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992). Joseph Chamberlain, “The True Conception of Empire” (1897), in Lim and Smith, eds., The West in the Wider World: Sources and Perspectives, 2 vols York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003). Joseph Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899) in Katherine J. Lualdi, ed., Sources of The Making of the West, 2nd ed., 2 vols Brian Levack et al., The West: Encounters & Transformations. Vol. 2, Concise edition, (NewYork: Pearson-Longman 2007) 490-491

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    darwin

    • 1153 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Darwin spent years exploring this idea, and although genetics hadn’t been discovered at the time, his theory is based upon them. He published his idea of evolution in his most famous book ‘The Origin of Species’ (1859).…

    • 1153 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Darwin was an English naturalist, who developed the theory of evolution through natural selection, to explain how the millions of species that inhabit the earth originally came into being. He published “On the origin of species” in 1859, in which he described his theory of evolution through natural selection.…

    • 256 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Charles Darwin was an English biologist who, along with a few others, developed a biological concept that has been vulgarized and attacked from the moment his major work, The Origin of Species, was published in 1859. An accurate and brief picture of his contribution to biology is probably his own: Evolution is transmission with adaptation. Darwin saw in his epochal trip aboard the ship The Beagle in the 1830s what many others had seen but did not draw the proper conclusions. In the Galapagos Islands, off South America, Darwin noted that very large tortoises differed slightly from one island to the next. He noted also that finches also differed from one geographical location to the next. Some had shorter beaks, useful for cracking seeds. Some had long, sharp beaks, useful for prying insects out of their hiding places. Some had long tail feathers, others short ones.…

    • 1221 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    Naturalism Research Paper

    • 1937 Words
    • 8 Pages

    The publication by the English biological naturalist Charles Darwin of the Origin of Species in 1859 provided biology with its fundamental theory of natural selection: that all species have been derived from a common, single-cell ancestor by a process of random mutation and differential reproductive success (Darwin). In conjunction with the development of modern genetics, Darwin’s theory unified the life sciences with the rest of the natural sciences and ended the need to use supernatural causes in order to explain the order and diversity of nature. Then, as now, Darwin’s theory of evolution was viewed by the popular culture as a threat to certain religiously inspired beliefs, most centrally the belief that the fact and nature of human existence is explained by the purposes of a…

    • 1937 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    EVOLUTION

    • 4102 Words
    • 17 Pages

    Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is a process inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals, leading to different rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait differences are heritable.[4] Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced…

    • 4102 Words
    • 17 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Biological Psychology

    • 2332 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Charles Darwin (1809-1882) described the nature of evolutionary theory. It describes the way in which our bodies and behaviors change across many generations of individuals. He proposed the theory of Natural Selection, the evolutionary principle describing a mechanism by which organisms have developed and changed, based on the principle of "the…

    • 2332 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Summary: HOPE on Earth

    • 1058 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Charles Darwin invented his influential theory - species evolution in 1858 after the voyage of Beagle. The main idea in the theory states that human being has to change its habits, behaviors and characteristics, in any minute, it is to better off itself to a better condition and adapts the changing environment for survival. The…

    • 1058 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Charles Darwin first came up with the theory of natural selection. He took a lot of trips on land and sea, following his interests of nature and the change that happens. He looked at many different kinds of birds, insects and animals, he explained Natural Selection as sustaining of good variations and the rejecting of bad variations. Darwin explained that different alterations occurred in the same species, which helped them to adapt to their surroundings. Thus creating different species.…

    • 470 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    WAS DARWIN WRONG

    • 2668 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Darwin’s theory of evolution entails the following fundamental ideas. The first three ideas were already under discussion among earlier and contemporaneous naturalists working on the so called species problem as Darwin began his research. Darwin’s original contributions were the mechanism of natural selection and copious amounts of evidence for evolutionary change from many sources. He also provided thoughtful explanations of the consequences of evolution for our understanding of the history of life and modern biological diversity.…

    • 2668 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    properties of life

    • 581 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The theory of evolution explains how populations, over time, have adapted to their changing environment. Although many scientists and non-scientists proposed that life was not static throughout the years it wasn’t until the 19th century that Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism to scientifically explain how evolution could occur.…

    • 581 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Central to the theory of evolution, is natural selection. Evolutionary theory was developed by Charles Darwin to explain the ways in which animals adapt to their environments (Akert, Aronson, Sommers, and Wilson 43). Natural selection, is the process by which heritable traits that promote survival in particular environments are passed along to…

    • 652 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Darwin first introduced the idea of evolution in his publication of The Origin of Species, on November 24th, 1859 (Campbell, 2005, p. 438). This opposed many traditional views as it was generally accepted that the beginning inhabitants of the world had no mutations in their genetic composition. His publication had two major points. The first being the modern organisms presently inhibiting the earth, differ from their ancestral species by a process called evolution. The other point he made was that of natural selection, as it is the mechanism for evolution. The organisms inherit traits from ancestors who were able to survive specific environmental conditions, passing these traits on to their offspring.…

    • 1572 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    The evolution theory holds that the species on Earth were not created by God but came in the being as a result of processes governed entirely by chance. The founder of this theory was an amateur naturalist named Charles Darwin. Darwin expounded this theory in his book “The Origin of Species”, which was published in 1859. Darwin’s theory argued that all species descended from a common ancestor by means of…

    • 1426 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Charles Darwin was not the first to propose evolution, but the first to propose how it worked (natural selection). He evolved his theory based on his observations in nature. Human beings were the result of evolution. Lead to a commode ration of ideas called social Darwinism.…

    • 683 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Evolution Theory

    • 6490 Words
    • 26 Pages

    The modern theory of evolution was developed by Charles Darwin, an amateur English naturalist, in the 19th century. He proposed that all of the millions of species of organisms present today, including humans, evolved slowly over billions of years, from a common ancestor by way of natural selection. This idea said that the individuals best adapted to their habitat passed on their traits to their offspring. Over time these advantageous qualities accumulated and transformed the individual into a species entirely different from its ancestors (e.g. birds from reptiles, whales from bears, humans from apes, etc).…

    • 6490 Words
    • 26 Pages
    Powerful Essays