Darwinism in America

Darwinism and the evolution theory played a key role in America and mainly shaping its societal structure, policies, and way of life in the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth century (Villamar, 2016). The theory, and which ascertained that people, just like animals and plants evolved making an improved breed in the following generation was used to categorize people and classify them into social classes. The theory as well embraced capitalism in the American society and eventually led to racial discrimination in that some races were asserted and treated as superior, “better, wiser and important” as compared to others and particularly from southern and eastern Europe (Winlow, 2009). The theory also played a key role in setting a gap and policies discriminative to the immigrants since it asserted that the immigrants were less successful as compared to the host and policies demanding their castration, for instance, were implemented. 

Similarly, social Darwinism similarly misapplied the assertions of Darwin in mistreating immigrants by applying the discriminative approach in political, economic and social dimensions. The social Darwinism encouraged survival for the strong and as such both host and immigrants were subjected to discrimination. Due to the growth of such perceptions, the poor had minimal help from the government from society and so were the sick (Villamar, 2016). Moreover, the misinterpretation and misuse of the theory implied and segregated the society as of two categories, socially and economically fit and for the unit. The developed policies significantly impacted the immigrants seeking to gain from businesses and benefit from the established social structures in America (Winlow, 2009). The eugenics as well in the twentieth century applied the misinterpreted theory and sought to enhance human health by supporting good health and intelligent people. The group started sterilizing the society members deemed weak-minded particularly the immigrants, women and the minorities. 

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Furthermore, the whites in America perceived the immigrants as less-civilized and as such less-deserving in the society. Due to such perceptions and social considerations, the immigrants were treated as “lesser-human beings living in the mercy of the whites” and the natives saw it as their role to bring civilization to them particularly to the non-English speaking immigrants (Winlow, 2009). Together, social Darwinism and the eugenics proposed and implemented laws and policies that enhanced racism, discrimination, and growth of poverty in the society (Villamar, 2016). Collectively, the immigrants had difficult times in America and struggled to fit in American society. 

Contrary, the Fundamentalist Christians strongly opposed the Darwinism theory in various ways. The group of Christians objectively fought to protect the teaching of the Bible and the knowledge shared among Christians mainly on the origin of man (Deutchman, 2008). The Christianity fraternity as well opposed the discrimination encouraged by the Darwinism and supported on justice for all and that all men were equal and deserved equal rights and freedom in the society. The fundamentalists also asserted that the theory di not declare God as a creator and as such, it purported atheism in America. The group of Christians as such proudly fought against the teaching of the ideas of the evolution and its application in the social, economic and political doctrines in the society (Deutchman, 2008). Its leaders as well started parallel teachings to emphasize the theological teachings in an attempt to respond to the evolution theory which was growing fast across Europe.


Deutchman, I. E. (2008). Fundamentalist Christians, Raunch Culture, and Post-industrial Capitalism. The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 19(1), 4-4. doi:10.3138/jrpc.19.1.004

Villamar, A. A. (2016). Darwinism in Latin America: Reception and Introduction. Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands Darwin, Darwinism and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands, 91-107. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-34052-4_6

Winlow, H. (2009). Darwinism (and Social Darwinism). International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 4-11. doi:10.1016/b978-008044910-4.00675-1

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