Origins of the Myth of Social Darwinism: The Ambiguous Legacy of Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought

  title={Origins of the Myth of Social Darwinism: The Ambiguous Legacy of Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought},
  author={Thomas C. (Tim) Leonard},
  journal={History of Economics eJournal},

Darwinism and Social Darwinism

  • G. Radick
  • History
    The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought
  • 2019
This chapter introduces the main scientific ideas associated with Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and examines the public life of these ideas, above all so-called “social Darwinism”: the

“An Affair of History, Law, and Institutions”: William Graham Sumner’s Historical Method and the Responsibility of the Individual

William Graham Sumner is popularly thought of as the Progressive Era’s strongest champion of the unencumbered individual, following Richard Hofstadter’s identification of Sumner as “one of America’s

Social Darwinism and Social Justice: Herbert Spencer on Our Duties to the Poor

Herbert Spencer is commonly regarded as a "social Darwinist," who was, at best, indifferent to the suffering of the poor, and perhaps even positively welcoming of it. This paper re-examines Spencer's

Experimental Appraisal of Social Darwinism By Way of Temperament and Personality

Social Darwinism believes that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin had perceived in plants and animals in nature. According to the theory, which

Darwinist premise in the Orientalist construction of the "Other"

Based on Edward Said’s Colonial Discourse Theory and his concept of Oreintalism, this paper develops a Saidian reading of the Orientaists’ thought in their relationship with non-Western people. The

A Comment the ‘New’ History of American Capitalism

This essay reviews the "New History of Capitalism" (NHC) literature with specific attention to its claims about the relationship between capitalism and slavery. While others have critiqued severe

Social Darwinism, the British Labour Party, and the First World War

ABSTRACT This article investigates whether the doctrine of social Darwinism had any bearing on the Labour Party’s decision to support Britain’s participation in the First World War. Many socialist

Social Change and Selectionist Thought: On Spencer, Darwin and Runciman

This article clarifies Spencer's ideas on evolutionary process, disentangling them from and establishing their marginality to Darwin's central concerns, and considers with examples, including Goffman on ‘stigma’ and the decline of the poor law, the new questions opened up for social theory by this modestly selectionist mode of analysis.

Why Were Biological Analogies in Economics “A Bad Thing”? Edith Penrose's Battles against Social Darwinism and McCarthyism

Argument The heuristic value of evolutionary biology for economics is still much under debate. We suggest that in addition to analytical considerations, socio-cultural values can well be at stake in



The "Vanity of the Philosopher": From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-Classical Economics

Attempts to explain the shift from egalitarian Classical economic thought to the difference and hierarchy of post - Classical economic thinking Continuing the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed

Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 1860-1945: Nature as Model and Nature as Threat

Acknowledgements Part I. Defining Social Darwinism: Introduction: the identity of Social Darwinism 1. Defining Social Darwinism 2. The distinctiveness of Social Darwinism Part II. Pioneers: 3. The

Darwin fallen among political economists.

  • D. Winch
  • Economics, History
    Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
  • 2001
Charles Darwin received an enthusiastic recommendation that he read Henry George's recently published book, Progress and Poverty, but it is clear that he could not share Wallace's enthusiasm for political economy.

The Promise of American Life

The Promise of American Life was first published in 1909. It had an immediate and extensive influence on what social historians call the Progressive Era. At the dawn of the New Deal Era, Felix

Malthus, Darwin, and the concept of struggle.

  • P. Bowler
  • Economics, Education
    Journal of the history of ideas
  • 1976
It is suggested that a careful analysis reveals a significant difference between the ways in which Malthus and Darwin used the idea of struggle, with the concept that was really important in Darwin's theory occupying only a subsidiary position in MalthUS' work.

Social Darwinism in Anglophone Academic Journals: A Contribution to the History of the Term

This essay is a partial history of the term 'Social Darwinism'. Using large electronic databases, it is shown that the use of the term in leading Anglophone academic journals was rare up to the

"More Merciful and Not Less Effective": Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era

Oliver Wendell Holmes was made a Progressive lion upon his pithy dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn a New York statute restricting (male) bakers’working hours. “The

Social Darwinism and the businessman

THE American humiorist Mark Twain, when asked to explain why he wore a white suit, replied that clothes make the man, that naked people have little or no influence in society. Unlike Mark Twain, or

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

Genetics is in the news. What is not in the news are its origins in a racist twentieth century pseudoscience called eugenics, which was based on selective breeding. In 1904, the United States

The Fundamental Laws of Anthropo-sociology

ANTHROPOLOGY is destined to revolutionize the political and social sciences as radically as bacteriology has revolutionized the science of medicine. Although the phenomena of social organization and