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Political Descent
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Political Descent: Malthus, Mutualism, and the Politics of Evolution in Victorian England

Piers J. Hale


Historians know that Darwin was influenced by the political economist Thomas Malthus and that natural selection was therefore compatible with Whig industrial politics, but Political Descent shows that the earlier Lamarckian ideas that were popular among radicals persisted throughout the nineteenth century both alongside and in opposition to various forms of Malthusian Darwinism. After 1832 English radicalism split along class lines; Whig radicals embraced Malthus in justification of competitive individualism whereas working class radicals favoured anti-Malthusian and Lamarckian evolutionary id ... More

Keywords: Thomas Robert Malthus, Charles Darwin, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Friedrich Leopold August Weismann, politics, evolution, radicalism, socialism, natural selection, England

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780226108490
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226108520.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Piers J. Hale, author