In the nineteenth century two men wrote extensive essays on their ideas or explanations of the society they were in at the time. Both men had the best interest of the country at heart and the ideas were similar but had major differences. Henry Spencer idea was simple enough, Darwin’s theory on survival of the fittest was correct and he believed society evolved just like nature did, by progress. Andrew Carnegie idea of The Gospel of Wealth sought to make a better society by giving back to the community. Although each man had a different idea on how, both men agreed that man should strive to do the best in life and government should not hamper a man’s desire to achieve all he can.
Ideas of evolution and progress
Concept of progress
Herbert Spencer’s agreed with Darwin’s theory but expanded on it by saying society has evolved just as nature did but society evolved toward individual freedoms and this evolution was called progress. Progress, in his opinion, is “an advance from homogeneity of structure to heterogeneity of structure”. (Halsll P. (1997). Modern history sourcebook: Spencer: Social Darwinism, 1857. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/spencer-darwin.html) Just like a cell in the body, starting out all the same and changing for what the body needs it to be, he believes communities do the same through progress. As the people in communities do the same things to survive, such as; gather food, tend to livestock and deal with the basic family needs; they progress to relying on and providing for other communities so they can specialize in what they do best. This doesn’t take place overnight but over time just as evolution did and it is accomplished by turning simple into complex through continuous differentiation.
Race and class within progress
In the time period of his writings the nation was going through a very racist period in history. With that said, he believed race and class played a...