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The Education of Henry Adams - Chapter 15 Darwinism (1867-1868) Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 15 Darwinism (1867-1868) Summary

To Adams, natural selection, uniform evolution, unity and uniformity are good and proper replacements for God. Charles Lyell visits the Legation, and Adams volunteers to introduce his principles to the United States. When he begins reading and writing about the subject, however, he finds himself stuck on Glacier Theory, and he cannot rectify uniform evolution/progress with the start-and-stop change proposed by the theory. He becomes confused by Darwinism, because nothing seems to work out as the theory suggests that it should. Irreligious Darwinism begins to seem like a dogma all the same as Adams sees evidence of non-uniformity, non-evolution, and non-selection. He comes away from the experience still seeking absolute standards and Unity.

Adams turns now to finance, working on solving the problem of specie-payments that faced the U.S. in the aftermath of the Civil War. He discovers from his research...

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