Spencer claims, with some reason, that he was always an evolutionist.
Nearly all of his books were first given to the public in the form of lectures or magazine articles, revised and collected under a general title, such as Myths and Myth-Makers (1872), Darwinism and Other Essays (1879), Excursions of an Evolutionist (1883), and A Century of Science (1899).
Erasmus Darwin (Zoonomia, 17 94), though a zealous evolutionist, can hardly be said to have made any real advance on his predecessors; and, notwithstanding the fact that Goethe had the advantage of a wide knowledge of morphological facts, and a true insight into their signification, while he threw all the power of a great poet into the expression of his conceptions, it may be questioned whether he supplied the doctrine of evolution with a firmer scientific basis than it already possessed.
Herder was thus an evolutionist, but an evolutionist still under the influence of Rousseau.
That is to say, in tracing back the later acquisitions of civilization to impulses which are as old as the dawn of primitive culture, he did not, as the modern evolutionist does, lay stress on the superiority of the later to the earlier stages of human development, but rather became enamoured of the simplicity and spontaneity of those early impulses which, since they are the oldest, easily come to look like the most real and precious.