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Social Darwinism

noun, Sociology
1.
a 19th-century theory, inspired by Darwinism, by which the social order is accounted as the product of natural selection of those persons best suited to existing living conditions and in accord with which a position of laissez-faire is advocated.
Also, social Darwinism.
Origin
1885-1890
1885-90
Related forms
Social Darwinist, social Darwinist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Social Darwinism in Culture

social Darwinism definition


A theory arising in the late nineteenth century that the laws of evolution, which Charles Darwin had observed in nature, also apply to society. Social Darwinists argued that social progress resulted from conflicts in which the fittest or best adapted individuals, or entire societies, would prevail. It gave rise to the slogan “survival of the fittest.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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