Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Industrialization brought great wealth to America, but the price was quite high. The growing extrem - Study Help

Industrialization brought great wealth to America, but the price was  quite high. The growing extremes of poverty and wealth that were being  exhibited at the end of the 19th century, caused some to seek ways to  make possible a just and humane society, while others sought  justification for the emerging social order. The promise of success was  made, promoting the idea that America was the land of opportunity and  that hard work led to success. Social Darwinism was used to provide a  scientific explanation for why some acquired great wealth while others  barely survived. Rags-to-riches stories presented a picture of the  opportunities that were available to all, and the success of the  self-made man.
In order to prepare for this discussion forum:

Review and identify the relevant sections of Chapter 19, that support your discussion.
Review background information on the works of Horatio Alger Jr., and read one of his short stories: Ragged Dick, available on this linked site.
Read this selection from Andrew Carnegie’s the Gospel of Wealth on this link.
Read this brief selection on Social Darwinism,  written by Herbert Spencer, 1857, who applied Darwin’s theories of  evolution to society. He also coined the phrase “survival of the  fittest.”

After you have completed your readings post your response to ONE of the topics in the following question:

How would you respond to someone who presents you with the arguments proposed by Social Darwinists, OR the stories written by Horatio Alger, OR Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth (choose ONLY ONE of these),  to explain the success or failures of individuals in the society? What  evidence would you use to support your position? For this discussion,  you must first identify and present their arguments, and then your  counterargument. As you collect your information for this discussion you  should keep in mind the opportunities that were available to many, but  also the climate of racism that permeated parts of the American society  and the legalized discrimination that existed.

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Modern History Sourcebook:

Herbert Spencer:

Social Darwinism, 1857
Herbert Spencer (1820­1903) was thinking about ideas of
evolution and progress before Charles Darwin published The
Origin of Species (1859). Nonetheless, his ideas received a
major boost from Darwin’s theories and the general application
of ideas such as “adaptation” and “survival of
the fittest” to social thought is known as “Social Darwinism”.
It would be possible to argue that human evolution showed the
benefits of cooperation and community. Spencer, and Social Darwinists
after him took another view. He believed that society was evolving
toward increasing freedom for individuals; and so held
that government intervention, ought to be minimal in social and
political life.
Here Spencer specifically discusses race and class.

From Herbert Spencer. Progress: Its Law
and Cause

The current conception of Progress is somewhat shifting and indefinite.
Sometimes it comprehends little more than simple growth-as of
a nation in the number of its members and the extent of territory
over which it has spread. Sometimes it has reference to quantity
of material products-as when the advance of agriculture and manufactures
is the topic. Sometimes the superior quality of these products
is contemplated; and sometimes the new or improved appliances
by which they are produced. When again we speak of moral or intellectual
progress, we refer to the state of the indivdual or people exhibiting
it; whilst, when the progress of Knowledge, of Science, of Art,
is commented upon, we have in view certain abstract results of
human thought and action. Not only, however, is the current conception
of Progress more or less vague, but it is in great measure erroneous.
It takes in not so much the reality of Progress as its accompaniments-not
so much the substance as the shadow. That progress in intelligence
which takes place during the evolution of the child into the man,
or the savage into the philosopher, is commonly regarded as consisting
in the greater number of facts known and laws understood: whereas
the actual progress consist in the produce of a greater quantity
and variety of articles for the satisfaction of men’s wants; in
the increasing security of person and property; in the widening
freedom of action enjoyed whereas, rightly understood, social
progress consists in those changes of structure in the social
organism which have entailed these consequences The current conception
is a teleological one. The phenomena are contemplated solely as
bearing on human happiness. Only those changes t are held to constitute
progress which directly or indirectly tend to heighten human
happiness. And they are thought to constitute progress simply because they tend to heighten human happiness. But rightly
to understand Progress, we must inquire what is the nature of
these changes, considered apart from our interests. Ceasing, for
example, to regard the successive geological modifications that
have taken place in the Earth, as modifications that have gradually
fitted it for the habitation of Man, and as therefore a geological
progress, we must seek to determine the character common to these
modifications-the law to which they all conform. And similarly
in every other case. Leaving out of sight concomitants and beneficial
consequences, let us ask what Progress is in itself.
In respect to that progress which individual organisms display
in the course of their evolution, this question has been answered
by the Germans. The investigations of Wolff, Goethe, and Van Baer
have established the truth that the series of changes gone through
during the development of a seed into a tree, or an ovum into
an animal, constitute an advance from homogeneity of structure
to heterogeneity of structure. In its primary stage, every germ
consists of a substance that is uniform throughout, both in texture
and chemical composition. The first step in its development is
the appearance of a difference between two parts of this substance;
or, as the phenomenon is described in physiological language-a
differentiation. Each of these differentiated divisions presently
begins itself to exhibit some contrast of parts; and by these
secondary differentiations become as definite as the original
one. This progress is continuously repeated-is simultaneously
going on in all parts of the growing embryo; and by endless multiplication
of these differentiations there is ultimately produced that complex
combination of tissues and organs constituting the adult animal
or plant. This is the course of evolution followed by all organisms
whatever. It is settled beyond dispute that organic progress consists
in a change from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.
Now, we propose in the first place to show, that 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, of Manufactures, of Commerce,
of Language, Literature, Science, Art, this same evolution of
the simple into the complex, through a process of continuous differentiation,
holds throughout. From the earliest traceable cosmical changes
down to the latest results of civilization, we shall find that
the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous,
is that in which Progress essentially consists….
Whether an advance from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is
or is not displayed in the biological history of the globe, it
is clearly enough displayed in the progress of the latest and
most heterogeneous creature-Man. It is alike true that, during
the period in which the Earth has been peopled, the human organism
has become more heterogeneous among the civilized divisions of
the species ­ and that the species, as a whole, has been
growing more heterogeneous in virtue of the multiplication of
races and the differentiation of these races from each other….
…. In the course of ages, there arises, as among ourselves,
a highly complex political organization of monarch, ministers,
lords and commons, with their subordinate administrative departments,
courts of justice, revenue offices, &c., supplemented in the
provinces by municipal governments, county governments, parish
or union governments – all of them more or less elaborated. By
its side there grows up a highly complex religious organization,
with its various grades of officials from archbishops down to
sextons, its colleges, convocations, ecclesiastical courts, &c.;
to all which must be added the ever­multiplying independent
sects, each with its general and local authorities. And at the
same time there is developed a highly complex aggregation of customs
manners, and temporary fashions, enforced by society at large,
and serving to control those minor transactions between man and
mar which are not regulated by civil and religious law. Moreover
it is to be observed that this ever­increasing heterogeneity
in the governmental appliances of each nation, has been accompanied
by an increasing heterogeneity in the governmental appliances
of different nations all o which are more or less unlike in their
political systems and legislation in their creeds and religious
institutions, in their customs and ceremonial usages.
Simultaneously there has been going on a second differentiation
of a still more familiar kind; that, namely, by which the mass
of the community has become segregated into distinct classes and
orders of workers. While the governing part has been undergoing
the complex development above described, the governed part has
been undergoing an equally complex development, which has resulted
in that minute division of labour characterizing advanced nations.
It is needless to trace out this progress from its first stages,
up through the caste divisions of the East and the incorporated
guilds of Europe, to the elaborate producing and distributing
organization existing among ourselves. Political economists have
made familiar to all, the evolution which, beginning with a tribe
whose members severally perform the same actions each for himself,
ends with a civilized community whose members severally perform
different actions for each other; and they have further explained
the evolution through which the solitary producer of any one commodity,
is transformed into a combination of producers who united under
a master, take separate parts in the manufacture of such commodity.
But there are yet other and higher phases of this advance from
the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in the industrial structure
of the social organism. Long after considerable progress has been
made in the division of labour among different classes of workers,
there is still little or no division of labour among the widely
separated parts of the community: the nation continues comparatively
homogeneous in the respect that in each district the same occupations
are pursued. But when roads and other means of transit become
numerous and good, the different districts begin to assume different
functions, and to become mutually dependent. The calico manufacture
locates it self in this county, the woollen­cloth manufacture
in that; silks are produced here, lace there; stockings in one
place, shoes in another; pottery, hardware, cutlery, come to have
their special towns; and ultimately every locality becomes more
or less distinguished from the rest by the leading occupation
carried on in it. Nay, more, this subdivision of functions shows
itself not only among the different parts of the same nation,
but among different nations. That exchange of commodities which
free­trade promises so greatly to increase, will ultimately
have the effect of specializing, in a greater or less degree,
the industry of each people. So that beginning with a barbarous
tribe, almost if not quite homogeneous in the functions of its
members, the progress has been, and still is, towards an economic
aggregation of the whole human race, growing ever more heterogeneous
in respect of the separate functions assumed by separate nations,
the separate functions assumed by the local sections of each nation,
the separate functions assumed by the many kinds of makers and
traders in each town, and the separate functions assumed by the
workers united in producing each commodity.
Not only is the law thus clearly exemplified in the evolution
of the social organism, but it is exemplified with equal clearness
in the evolution of all products of human thought and action;
whether concrete or abstract, real or ideal…
We might trace out the evolution of Science; beginning with the
era in which it was not yet differentiated from Art, and was,
in union with Art, the handmaid of Religion; passing through
the era in which the sciences were so few and rudimentary, as
to be simultaneously cultivated by the same philosophers; and
ending with the era in which the genera and species are so numerous
that few can enumerate them, and no one can adequately grasp even
one genus. Or we might do the like 0 with Architecture, with the
Drama, with Dress. But doubtless the reader is already weary of
illustrations; and our promise has been amply fulfilled. We believe
we have shown beyond question, that that which the German physiologists
have found to be the law of organic development, is the law of
all development. The advance from the simple to the complex, through
a process of successive differentiations, is seen alike in the
earliest changes of the Universe to which we can reason our way
back, and in the earliest changes which we can inductively establish;
it is seen in the geologic and climatic evolution of the Earth,
and of every single organism on its surface; it is seen in the
evolution of Humanity, whether contemplated in the civilized individual,
or in the aggregation of races; it is seen in the evolution of
Society in respect both of its political and economical organization;
and it is seen in the evolution of all those endless concrete
and abstract products of human activity which constitute the environment
of our daily life. From the remotest past which Science can fathom,
down to the novelties of yesterday, that in which Progress essentially
consists, is the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous.

Herbert Spencer: “Progess: Its Law and Causes”, The
Westminster Review, Vol 67 (April 1857), pp 445-447, 451,
454-456, 464-65

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