The Spirit Of Independence: A Primer For Korean Modernization And Reform

Author: Syngman Rhee, Han-Kyo Kim,
Publisher: Univ Of Hawaii Pr
Keywords: modernization, reform, korean, primer, independence, spirit
Pages: 305
Published: 2001-01
Language: English
Category: Korea, Asia, History,
ISBN-10: 0824823494     ISBN-13: 9780824823498
Binding: Paperback
List Price: 27.00 USD
Syngman Rhee (Yi Sung-man, 1875-1965) is undoubtably one of the most important figures in modern Korean history. He emerged as the dominant leader in Korea's nationalist struggle against Japan and served as the first president of the Republic of Korea from 1948 through 1960. Rhee's political career as founder and president, however, was not without controversy. While some hailed him as "the George Washington of Korea," other regarded Rhee as "a little Chiang Kai-shek." This first English translation of Rhee's magnum opus, The Spirit of Independence (Tongnip chongsin), provides readers with an essential key to understanding the breadth and depth of Rhee's thought at a critical juncture in his life and his country's history.

The Spirit of Independence is the foremost classic of reformist political writings known collectively as "enlightenment" (kaehwa) literature of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Korea. The twenty-nine-year-old Rhee completed the manuscript in 1904 while imprisoned in Seoul for openly criticizing the Taehan Empire and calling for a constitutional monarchy. His work reveals the depth of Korean angst over the threat to Korean independence of the ongoing Russo-Japanese War. But, above all, it is an impassioned plea to the common people of Korea to recognize the mortal dangers threatening their nation and to carry out a series of drastic reforms based on Western political models.

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