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Herbert Spencer Essay

930 words - 4 pages

Jessie Reeder
DE Sociology
Spring 2011
Herbert Spencer
There are numerous people who study sociology in our world. One of the most famous is Herbert Spencer. Herbert Spencer’s early life influenced a lot of his accomplishments. Not only did he study the subject of sociology, but he wrote several books stating his views and opinions on this subject as well as biology, ethics, and politics. Spencer made a lot of contributions to the realms of sociology that continues to appear in studies today.
Born in the Victorian Era in April 27, 1820, Herbert Spencer was the only one of his 9 brothers and sisters to survive infancy. Back then, not many successful medicines and treatments had ...view middle of the document...

He wrote a number of his own novels in which he often defended radical causes like land nationalism and the role of women in society. His first book, Social Statics or The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness, was published in 1857. The word, social statics, actually came from Auguste Comte who was also a very successful sociologist. His first book shows his account of the development of human freedom. It was also a kind of defense for individual liberties based on his theory of evolution. His theory of evolution was, of course, social Darwinism (William Sweet). Social Darwinism is Spencer’s ideas and thoughts on “adaptation” and “survival of the fittest.” “Survival of the fittest” is the idea that only the most capable, and able organisms live while the weaker dies out. Although Charles Darwin published his book on evolution, Herbert Spencer had the ideas presented in Darwin’s book much before the time that that book was published (Herbert Spencer).
In 1855 his second book, The Principles of Psychology, was published. This book was much less successful than the first, but still had a huge impact on the world of sociology. Just as in his first book, he saw Bentham and Mill as perfect targets for himself. These two men both believed, basically, in the same types of ideas as Spencer: utilitarianism, women’s rights, and individual liberty. The reason they were targets was because Herbert Spencer wanted to be the best and the most accurate (William Sweet).
At about the time of his second book, Herbert Spencer began to go through extremely difficult times that affected him for the remainder of his life. The illnesses that he was diagnosed with had him avoid the public and seek privacy. Another effect...

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