Arguments for Success Cultural and intellectual arguments those at the top of the Socioeconomic structure used

Social Darwinism is the belief that Darwin’s ideas of natural selection and survival of the fittest should be applied to the marketplace.

Herbert Spencer - English sociologist and philosopher, an early advocate of the theory of evolution, believed in the superiority of the individual over society and of science over religion.


Professor William Graham Sumner of Yale University- sociologist professor at Yale, firm believer in laissez-faire, individual liberty, and the innate inequalities among men. Thought that competition for properties and social status lead to the downfall of those who weren’t as wealthy or fortunate.


John D. Rockefeller

Gospel of Wealth - The usage of religion to justify the wealth of industrialists. However, the wealthy had some obligation to aid society.

While wealthy industrialists enjoyed their great wealth, they saw they had a moral obligation to use their money to benefit society.

Rockefeller declared “anybody who dies rich dies disgraced” starting a huge charity campaign funded by Standard Oil.

Reverend Russell Conwell

Conwell believed in the meaning of hard work and gave his famous lecture “Acre of Diamonds” over 6,000 items which expressed his views on wealth.

The lecture explained that hard work can result in wealth and prosperity and the responsibility for the wealthy elite is to use their money for the good of others.

Many industrialists used this lecture to validate their money earned through hard work and eventual charity work.

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie justified his wealth by funding charity, Carnegie saw his work has an obligation gave to him when he made his great wealth.

Carnegie’s charity work was different though, Carnegie wanted to give the poor the tools they need to succeed and work for themselves.

Carnegie funded the construction of multiple schools and libraries in areas of extreme poverty.

Created By
Daniel Madrid

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