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Racism & Social Darwinism in Reguards to Imperialism

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Racism & Social Darwinism in Reguards to Imperialism

Imperialism: Social Darwinism and Racism

"Take up the White Man's burden

Send forth the best ye breed

Go, bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need;

To wait, in heavy harness,

On fluttered folk and wild

Your new-caught sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child."

(Rudyard Kipling The Whiteman's Burden)

The desire to increase ones country's land holdings, and ultimately its power, is not new. The reasons for justifying a war of conquest though, do change. As humanity progresses, the reasons get more and more convoluted. The domination of a foreign culture by an imperial power became a more and more common throughout the early 19th century. This imperialism was done predominantly done by white people, over non-white indigenous peoples. The justification was that white people are simply culturally, genetically, and technologically superior to the non-white peoples. It was the Whiteman's burden to civilize the savages, and he was going to do just that.

Social Darwinism It is the idea that there are such things as inferior races. Social Darwinism is the application of evolution to society. The person who coined the term Social Darwinism was Herbert Spencer. Supporters of Social Darwinism thought the idea that there are different sub-species of Man, and that some are better then others. Imperialists were not conquering defenseless people, they were civilizing them! Social Darwinism asserted that White was right. The time is coming when the pressure of population on the means of subsistence will be felt here as it is now felt in Europe and Asia. Then will the world enter upon a new stage of its history the final competition of races, for which the Anglo-Saxon is being schooled. This race of unequaled energy, with all the majesty of numbers and the might of wealth behind it the representative, let us hope, of the largest liberty, the purest Christianity, the highest civilization having developed peculiarly aggressive traits calculated to impress it institutions across the Earth. (Our Country, Josiah Strong). Imperialism's ultimate aim was to have a homogenous population, that was covered the whole entire earth.

Imperialists of this time were justified on so many levels in their thinking. Social Darwinism was a construct that welded biological science (evolution) with social science. A philosopher of the 19th century, Herbert Spencer said, "this law of organic progress is the law of all progress. Whether it be in the development of the Earth, in the development of Life upon its surface, the development of Society, of Government, ..., this same evolution of the simple into the complex, through a process of continuous differentiation, holds throughout."( Progress: Its Law and Cause).

The science of the time also backed up the racist and social Darwinism theories of the time. According to Sir Harry Johnston If we took all the factors into consideration religion, education, (especially knowledge concerning the relations between this planet and the universe of which it is a minute speck, the history and geography of the planet, the sciences that are a part of earth study,) standard of living, respect for sanitation, infant death rate, bodily strength, manner of government, regard for law and order, position in agriculture and manufacturing, we might appease mathematically according to the following ration, the principal nations and peoples into which humanity is divided. (The Backward Peoples). Sir Henry goes to break down the various populations of the world and their percentages of people with white skin. He then talks about the importance of having a large percentage of white individuals. He says Obviously the foremost nations in the world at the present day are Britain and the regions of the British Empire in which the white race predominates and that It is the peoples of 95 percent to 90 percent, that may be put in the unprogressive or retrograde class, unable to at present to govern themselves in a manner conducive to progress; while those that are graded 80-75 percent still contain in their midst elements of sheer savagery. Such regions, if left alone by the controlling white men, might easily relapse into the unprofitable barbarism out of which they have been lifted with the white mans efforts during the past fifty years (The Backwards People)

The factor racism has played in the various affairs of man is another thing to be considered. Racism is something that has existed in every society, and

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