Professor Patrick Pynes
24 September 2010
Do you know how the companies in the end of the nineteenth century justified its big fortunes? In that time people thought that rich or business men were corrupt. They argued that business men do not deserve their big fortunes, and the system was unfair because the power was in a few hands. Because ofthese views, an English philosopher named Herbert Spencer applied the theory of Charles Darwin to society. It was a powerful ideology and a great opportunity for rich men to justify their big fortunes, corrupt activities, and monopolies. In this essay the reader will be informed about the importance of the Social Darwinism developed by Herbert Spencer, the Gospel of Wealth an essay written by AndrewCarnegie, how these factors helped to develop the post civil war in America, and how this thinking influences the American thought today.
Social Darwinism is the application of Charles Darwin’s law of evolution and natural selection among the species to human society. This theory points out that the fittest survived in the process of evolution (Brinkley 485). According to Herbert Spencer, anEnglish philosopher who was the first men to apply the Social Darwinism theory to human society in human society only the fittest or smartest individuals survived and flourished in the market place. He argued that society benefited from the elimination of the unfit and the survival of the strong and talented (Brinkley 481). Also, another philosopher named William Graham Sumner promoted the Spencerideas; however, he was not agreeing at all with him. He only shared the idea that individuals have the freedom to compete, succeed or fail (Brinkley 481). Nevertheless, this new theory applied by Hebert Spencer and supported by Graham was the perfect idea for rich men to justify their own power. For instance, Rockefeller said that “The growth of a large business merely the survival of the fittest”,“This is not an evil tendency in business. It is merely the working out of the law of nature and a law of God” (Brinkley 481). With these two quotations Rockefeller try to explain that its power is a reward of all his efforts. In other words, that he deserved that power because of his hard work. Also, Rockefeller tries to explain that competition is not wrong in business; it is only that thesmartest will be the best. As a consequence, this theory helped to maintain the idea of free country among people where individual success for its hardworking and failure for lassie people. Nevertheless, they were so corrupt because of their desire to maintain their own monopolies. All of Social Darwinism theory was a stupid argument to make people believe that businessmen’s power was deserved and wasgiven by God. The reality was that captains of industry destroy all newborn companies than can be a competition against their companies; for example, Rockefeller`s great Standard Oil monopoly (Brinkley 481). Analyzing the situation of monopolies audience can infer that this is another example of the “Survival of the Fittest” because this businessmen are doing all they can to control the market.The Gospel of Wealth is an essay written by Andrew Carnegie in 1901. Carnegie examines in his essay the modes of distributing accumulated wealth and capital to the communities it originates from. He points out that “wealthy should consider all revenues in excess of their own need as trust funds to be used for the good of the community (Brinkley 482). In other words, rich men were responsible forthe poor people. In the essay Carnegie accepts the theory of Social Darwinism as natural and God’s law. He wrote “a condition of affairs under which the best interests of race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to a few. Thus far, accepting conditions as they exist, the situation can be surveyed and pronounced good” (45-50).
“What is the proper mode of administering wealth after...