Natural selection, as defined in the Grolier Encyclopedia (1), is a term used to refer to the process in which differential changes in gene frequencies occur within a population as a result of the differential ability of organisms to survive and reproduce in an environment. Charles Darwin, founder of this term and idea, came to use it when he studied how various organisms were evolving and adapting to their environments as changes occurred, such as temperature control and food supply. Those organisms who were not able to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings quickly died out and became extinct. It is a process that happens naturally in nature, without planning. .
All individuals and species vary from each other in their characteristics, some having features that help them sustain their lives longer in their habitats. For example, Charles Darwin conducted a very famous study on the Galapagos Islands pertaining to natural selection. He studied an enormous amount of finches that lived there and observed how each population had mutated and changed in order to survive on their specific islands. Some of the finches had longer and more powerful beaks because only larger seeds were available to eat; some had smaller and more delicate beaks because only smaller seeds were available to eat. He concluded that each group of finches accustomed themselves to their land through variations in their structures. Because of their natural selections, they were able to endure the conditions of their surrounding environments. .
William Graham Sumner is an obvious "social Darwinist" in his beliefs and writings. He realizes that although America would like to believe it is an "equal opportunity country" and free from class distinctions, it certainly is not. There are many social groups in the world with their own specific characteristics. For example, there are those who are poor but still remain lazy and unmotivated; those who are poor by misfortunes but strive to move up; the working-class middle population trying to "make ends meet"; and the wealthy, whether they became rich by luck or hard work.