American Studies ETDs

Publication Date



The important thing, in terms of this study, is that evolutionary speculation had a popular audience and a relatively large audience. Not only did people who had never seen copies of The Origin of Species or The Descent of Man feel perfectly familiar with their contents and qualified to talk about them, but serious thinkers were reading scientific and pseudo-scientific books at an unprecedented rate. For instance, Spencer's books had a sale of 368,755 copies in the authorized editions in the United States between 1860 and 1903. The testimony of John R. Commons as to Spencer's popularity is well known. Speaking of his father's friends he said, "Every one of them in that Eastern section of Indiana was a Republican, living on the battle cries of the Civil War, and every one was a follower of Herbert Spencer, ... I was brought up on Hoosierism, Republicanism, Presbyterianism, and Spencerism."



Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

George Warren Arms

Second Committee Member

Ernest Warnock Tedlock Jr

Third Committee Member

William Miner Dabney