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Topic Guide to Darwinism & Eugenics

The information and links below include search tips and a selection of articles covering this topic in the digitized Louisiana newspapers. The dates and suggested search terms can help to further explore this topic on Chronicling America. For the most search results, try the search terms in different combinations, in proximity, and as phrases.

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Significant Dates

1859 – Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life was published
1860 – T.H. Huxley coins the term "Darwinism"
1864 – Herbert Spencer coins the phrase "survival of the fittest"
1869 – Charles Darwin adds the phrase "survival of the fittest" in the fifth edition of On the Origin of Species
1870s – "Survival of the fittest" is adapted to theories related to sociology, economics, and politics.  These theories would later be described as "Social Darwinism"
1871 – Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex is published
1883 – Francis Galton misappropriates Darwin's theories to promote eugenics as a means of "perfecting the human race"
1890-1930s – Darwinism and "survival of the fittest" continues to be misapplied as a rationalization for movements related to eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, and Nazism
1900-1920s – Eugenics-based laws related to sterilization, marriage, and reproduction of certain people are passed in various states, including Louisiana

Suggested Search Terms

Darwinism, Natural Selection, Charles Darwin, Eugenics, Survival of the Fittest, Origin of Species

Sample Articles