Politics and Policy in Traditional Korea

Front Cover
Harvard Univ Asia Center, 1991 - History - 390 pages

Mr. Palais theorizes in his important book on Korea that the remarkable longevity of the Yi dynasty (1392-1910) was related to the difficulties the country experienced in adapting to the modern world. He suggests that the aristocratic and hierarchical social system, which was the source of stability of the dynasty, was also the cause of its weakness.

The period from 1864 to 1873 was one in which the monarchy attempted to increase and expand central power at the expense of the powerful aristocracy. But the effort failed, and 1874 saw a rebirth of bureaucratic and aristocratic dominance. What this meant when Korea was "opened" two years later to the outside world was that the country was poorly suited to the attainment of modern national objectives--the aggrandizement of state wealth and power--in competition with other nations. Thus any sense of national purpose was subverted, and the leadership could not generate the unified support needed for either modernization or domestic harmony. The consequences for the twentieth-century world have been portentous.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Problems in the Establishment of Monarchic
2
Dynastic Power
23
Merit and Privilege in the Recruitment of
43
Land Distribution and Taxation
58
The Household Cloth
86
The Abolition of the Private Academies
110
Reform of the Grain Loan System
132
The Abolition of Ching Cash
202
Maintaining the Status
220
The Politics of Dissent
237
The Debate over Accommodation with Japan
252
Conclusion
272
Notes
289
Bibliography
363
Index
375

Monetary Policy
160
The Retirement of the Taewongun
176

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