history3 - Explain ideas and practices of Americans who...

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Explain ideas and practices of Americans who rebelled against social Darwinism. American economist John Bates Clark saw the early untouched frontier of America as the best place to be during the time. He believed the land was the closest to Charles Darwin's "state of nature" described in The Origin of Species . He saw this place as a land least regulated by human rules, presenting an economical "ease of entry" and "price elasticity." It was principles such as Clark's that signaled the practice of social Darwinism, applying biological theory to the social realm, in America. However, many Americans have disagreed with the ideas and practices of social Darwinism, and there have been a variety of ways by which such Americans have responded. While some have taken active approaches through charity, muckraking, or by otherwise liberating themselves and their views, others have taken a more apathetic stance, succumbing to being "selected out." In response to Clark's perception of America's "state of nature," a fellow economist named Henry Carter Adams expressed that only the worst kind of people would succeed in such an unregulated setting. Perhaps Adams feared that the country would be taken over by laissez-faire advocates such as William Graham Sumner, author of "What the Social Classes Owe to Each Other." Sumner felt that the wealthy owed nothing to the less fortunate; the wealthy were wealthy because they'd earned their wealth. Additionally, Sumner professed that the poor should be left alone, unaided, so that they would eventually die off. There were many Americans poor and wealthy, that disagreed with this position. Mordecai Ezekiel, an American economist, felt the elite actually had an obligation to society rather than none at all. Perhaps epitomizing Ezekiel's vision, wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnagie donated 90% of his wealth to
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This note was uploaded on 09/06/2009 for the course HIST 110 taught by Professor Weise during the Spring '08 term at San Diego State.

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history3 - Explain ideas and practices of Americans who...

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