Survival of the Fittest
Madison Ashworth. Joy Worthington, Erin Brown
A theory developed by Charles Darwin stating that all organism evolve through natural selection. Natural selection is a collection of small traits that help an individual survive, compete and reproduce. If natural selection is not in favor of a specific species then that species will ultimately not survive. To survive, that species must evolve or adapt.
Social Darwinism applies Darwin's Theory to human society and politics. Social Darwinists take survival of the fittest and apply it to social classes of society. They believed that stronger people, businesses and nations would thrive while the weaker ones would fail. Basically, they believed that people that worked harder and had more money, would succeed better in society. Especially those that are able to adapt to changes in society are more likely to succeed.
During Reconstruction, white people considered themselves stronger than those of the black populace. They thought they would succeed more than negroes. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and other Extremist Groups enforced these ideas by attempting to attack and shove down the morale of anyone they believed inferior (negroes, Catholics & anyone that didn't have their beliefs).