It was the triumphalist laissez-faire notions that celebrated industrialists under the banner of Social Darwinism that I found the most interesting, since there remains a core of this in contemporary Republican/Conservative reasoning. Indeed, paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan routinely revive a weakened form of these notions when opposing social programs like affirmative action and justifying positions where individual and racial differences are not correctable by public policy.
And therein is the irony, I suppose, that Social Darwinism informs some of the most anti-Darwinist modern thinkers. Competition is good for you. Still, the most telling development to emerge from the same era is that ideas have a certain prolific vitality, mutating outward from basic scientific observations into new formulations that reengineer the scientific core into a series of quasi-scientific speculations. Then, over time, the speculations are whittled down and even completely discarded as the pseudoscience is ejected and only the core remains.