Social Darwinism

Nick C,  Treuvor H, Lisa E

Definition: Stronger people, businesses, and nations would prosper. Weaker ones would fail.

Break-Down: People with a stronger business sense and a bigger company would thrive, whereas smaller, independently owned companies would die out

   Darwin was a scientist who, after studying animals from around the world, created a revolutionary theory. He said that, rather than by random choice, weaker species of animals died out, whereas animals that were stronger evolved and adapted in order to survive in their environment. This theory was known as Darwinism.

    Some businessmen created a philosophy, based on Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest, known as Social Darwinism. It was the belief that smarter, stronger, bigger companies would smother the smaller companies and adapt to the changing economy.

Showing how the post Civil War industry gave power to the bigger businesses.

   After the Civil War, many large corporations sprang up from the industry needs caused by the war. In the South and in the West, the need for railroads created a large demand for steel and for companies to build railroads. Thus, someone who was smart and had invested in steel would suddenly have made a large amount of money.

A perfect example of Social Darwinism is Cornelius Vanderbilt. He predicted that railroads would become extremely important in the United States. He began buying railroad companies in New York. He bought the New York Central Railroad. He also used horizontal integration to buy smaller railroad companies and invested in steamship lines.

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