Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

B.A. Anthropology


Anthropology & Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. David Webb

Second Advisor

Dr. Jason Crockett


Throughout most of history, people have tried to justify their discrimination against other groups of people in any way they can, especially using biology and evolutionary theories as reason. When Charles Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species”, introducing his theory of evolution and the work and experiments he did to prove this theory, it caused many to question their previous bigoted beliefs. For some, however, Darwin’s theory of evolution, which would come to be referred to simply as Darwinism, only further proved their biases, or they could, at least, make it sound like they did. Later on, Herbert Spencer took the concept of Darwinism and applied it to society, thus creating the concept of Social Darwinism. Due to its nature of explaining why certain people “survive” and thrive better in society, Social Darwinism is entirely a justification of bigotry. In this paper, I will examine the many ways that Darwinism and Social Darwinism have been used to justify discrimination, especially as it pertains to the current state of American society.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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