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A Study of the Humanitarian Activities of Gieun Park Mun-su

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2009, (96), pp.195-223
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Kim Sung Hee 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Gieun Park Mun-su (耆隱 朴文秀 1691-1756) played an important role during the early part of King Yeongjo's reign (英祖 1724-1776) in the late Joseon Dynasty. As a devoted officer of the King, he carried out national policies concerning public welfare and led the enactment of the reformist tax system. There are approximately 300 folk tales about Park Mun-su that have been passed down through the generations. Due to these folk tales, he is now better known as a legendary character, and not a historical one. Thus this study aims to elucidate his historical role by analyzing relevant historical sources about his life and work. Park Mun-su's family was known for an academic tradition that emphasized the practical. It was this legacy that was the basis of Park Mun-su's statesmanship. During his childhood and the early days of his career, Park Mun-su lived among the common people and experienced the reality of their everyday life. This influenced his views and his attitudes towards governance. The core of Park Mun-su's statesmanship was focused on improving the lives of people. His political goal was to improve the people's quality of life and he devoted himself to that throughout his career. From the information gathered in this study, it is possible to say that Park Mun-su was an intellectual with a practical mind. His thoughts and study were not bound for metaphysical subjects but aimed at a substantial improvement of public welfare.

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