Social Darwinism in American Thought by Richard Hofstadter

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Social Darwinism in American Thought portrays the overall influence of Darwin on American social theory and the notable battle waged among thinkers over the implications of evolutionary theory for social thought and political action. Theorists such as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner adopted the idea of the struggle for existence as justification for the evils as well as the benefits of laissez-faire modern industrial society. Others such as William James and John Dewey argued that human planning was needed to direct social development and improve upon the natural order. Hofstadter's classic study of the ramifications of Darwinism is a major analysis of the social philosophies that animated intellectual movements of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era.

About Richard Hofstadter

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Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) was a Dewitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University and author of many books. He was awarded Pulitzer Prizes for The Age of Reform and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
Published May 1, 1959 by George Braziller. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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National Review Online

Over at the Weekly Standard, I have a piece on the Social Darwinism nonsense taking flight since Obama’s charge that the Republican budget is nothing more than “thinly veiled Social Darwinism.” It’s mostly adapted from the Social Darwinism chapter in The Tyranny of Cliches.

Apr 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Social Darwinism in American ...

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