saw the struggle for existence as the economic competition between individuals within a society soon found a rival in another view of social evolution. Was it not as reasonable to view progress as the result of an evolutionary struggle between groups of men, between tribes or nations or races, the fittest group predominating in the ceaseless warfare which constituted the evolutionary process? Darwin himself had anticipated this view, as had Walter Bagehot, but individualistic England had preferred the Social-Darwinism of economic competition outlined by Herbert Spencer. 3 By the end of the nineteenth century, however, the non-Spencerian view was finding more and more favour as a justification of British imperialism. 4
The controversy between what might be called 'internal' and 'external' Social-Darwinism actually ante-dated the Darwinian hypothesis. Certain mid-Victorian opponents of the 'dismal science' of political economy -- Thomas Carlyle, Charles Kingsley, and Charles Dickens, for example-had opposed the stern individualism of the Radicals which, they felt, resulted in the brutalization of the British working man, but at the same time these critics of internal laissez-faire were unbendingly severe in their attitude toward 'inferior' races outside the national pale. Carlyle's racist tract, 'Essay on the Nigger Question,' 5 in which he defended slavery, written ten years before Darwin's Origin, can be regarded as 'premature' external socialDarwinism, as can his position in the celebrated Eyre case, during the period between 1865 and 1868. On this occasion, Carlyle and Ruskin, Kingsley, and Dickens all insisted that it was not worth considering the injustices perpetrated against Jamaican 'niggers' as long as English working men continued to groan under the oppression of the factory system. On the other hand, the Cobdenite Radicals-including John Stuart Mill, Darwin, Spencer, Huxley and John Bright-good Malthu-
sians and internal Social-Darwinists-took for granted the necessity of the factory system and the internal economic struggle but protested the brutal suppression of the Jamaican coloured men by the British Governor Eyre. 6
By the end of the century, with the growing acceptance of evolutionary concepts, the debate was being waged under auspices which Carlyle, a disbeliever in Darwinian evolution, would never have accepted. Yet the arguments of the two sides were much the same. In England, internal SocialDarwinism, drawing sustenance from the doctrines of laissezfaire, was challenged by the new collectivist spirit of the 'eighties. The state had received a new meaning and importance at the hands of the Neo-Hegelian philosophers Green and Bradley. Free Trade, the bastion of Radical cosmopolitanism, was threatened in the 'eighties by the emergence of the rival notion of a protected national economy. In the battle between social-imperialism and Cobdenite liberalism, we will find that external Social-Darwinism provided one of the ideological foundations of social-imperialism while internal Social-Darwinism was a bulwark of Liberalism. The two leading exponents of British external Social-Darwinism were Benjamin Kidd and Karl Pearson, both of whom took up the position of Ruskin and Carlyle and asserted that England's first concern-if she meant to maintain her world position-was with the welfare of her own people at the expense, if need be, of other, 'inferior' peoples.
The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016