Social Darwinism

Gilded Age Activity


Social Darwinism is the implementation of the idea of the survival of the fittest to society and economics. It says that the smarter and stronger will become richer and more wealthy than those who are weaker and become poor.


  • Background: Social Darwinism was a concept created by Herbert Spencer, who applied ideas of nature to society. He based the idea off of Charles Darwin's idea of natural selection, where organisms with lesser favorable qualities to survive die off more than those who have more favorable qualities.

  • Fact: In 1883, a highly influential pamphlet entitled "What Social Classes Owe to Each Other" was published, which said that the social classes owed each other nothing which is completely opposite to the Gospel of Wealth.

  • Legacy: There is a sense of social Darwinism today, because most of the rich and successful business owners are self made people who created these businesses with hard work. There is a mind set today where it is believed that in order to be successful you must work hard.