In 1859, English naturalist Charles Darwin published the revolutionary On the Origin of the Species which outlined his theory regarding natural selection and evolution. Darwinism is the name given to his theories of biological evolution. The term “Darwinism” was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1860, and had remained in use among the general public as an umbrella for all of evolutionary theory.
Between 1831 and 1836, Charles Darwin served as the naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle as it surveyed much of the southern hemisphere. Darwin made extensive observations and sample collections while on board the Beagle, much of which contributed to On the Origin of the Species, where he outlined his various theories of evolution. Thomas Henry Huxley reviewed the book for the April 1860 issue of Westminster Review, praising the work for its advancement of scientific naturalism, and created the term “Darwinism.”
Soon, Darwinism came to represent any evolutionary theory. In the late 19th century, the phrase “survival of the fittest,” coined by Herbert Spencer, became the foundation of Social Darwinism, the application of Darwinism to humans, where the strong are able to increase wealth and power in society. There are also large numbers of religious fundamentalists in the United States who believe that Darwinism continues to be an attempt to supplant religion with science.