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Read "William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism" (1880); you can find the document on

page 32 of the Voices of Freedom, Volume 2 reader.


Read "Walter Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel" (1912); you can find the document on
page 46 of the Voices of Freedom, Volume 2 reader.

Compare and contrast these two documents. What is each man's view of the poor? How do
they differ with each other on the best ways to run society and the economy? Do you agree
or disagree with one of them?

Within William Graham Sumner’s document on Social Darwinism, Sumner believed in more of
a Social Darwinism society founded by Charles Darwin. Social Darwinism is basically ‘survival
of the fittest,’ or as in his document taking from Charles Darwin’s work of On the Origin of
Species, “which expounded the theory of evolution among plant and animal species, to
explain the success and failure of individual human beings and entire social classes” (pg.
35). Sumner viewed the poor as those failures of nature. He says that a man is born u nder a
burden, she (nature) gives a man all of his needs, but not gratuitously (pg. 36). Moving onto
Walter Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel document, he found more of a teaching through
the Christian Church, the law of love. He believed that a society no matter what status they
had should look out for their neighbors and help each other. He says, “[i]f we all loved our
neighbor, we should ‘treat him right,’ pay him a living wage, give sixteen ounces a pound,
and not charge so much for beef” (pg. 50). He believed that we should all be looking out for
each and helping each other survive, instead of paying to low where someone could barely
survive.

Within their arguments there were good arguments made and some weak ones, as in some
that would most likely never happened due to the society, we live in. I agree with both of
them on some level, with William Graham Sumner, I do believe that the society we live in is a
survival of the fittest and that we should be thinking about ourselves, but on the other hand
we can’t get too selfish with it. Turning over the Walter Rauschenbusch, I do agree with
helping our neighbors out and giving them more for a cheaper price and just giving back,
but the example he used of a businessman giving jobs to those who have lost everything
during a depression would make the businessman go bankrupt and that is where you should
be thinking about yourself and your loved ones. Everyone should work to be the best they
can be, but not where they aren’t helping others out.