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The life of Jeo Hun Lee Seock Hyung and His Idea of Ruling the State

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2010, (100), pp.569-603
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Seock Kyu Lee 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Lee Seock Hyung was a typical scholar raised by the government in the early Chosun dynasty. For about a half of his life as a bureaucrat he worked at Jiphyunjeon participating in the publication of such historical texts as Chipyungyoram, Yeokdaebyungyo, and Koreasa. However, Lee Seock Hyung was neither a meritorious retainer who might have played a significant role in the ruling of king Sejo; nor he preserved fidelity by opposing Sejo's seizure of the royal post. This political position instead made him intimate with both the meritorious retainers and the Sarim faction. Lee Seock Hyung had an intense idea of how to rule the state. He understood Chosun in his own perspective and was proud of its culture. Holding this pride he sought lessons of how to reign the state from history. The sum up of his political idea was the compilation of Daehakyeoneuijipryak. Political texts had long been compiled for the purpose of strengthening the royal power. It seems that upon the appearance of this privately compiled political text, Daehakyeoneui began to be appropriated for the power of bureaucrats. Lee Seock Hyung learned from history that the state and people can not be stable unless the strong hold themselves moderate and the weak live without difficulty. His main emphasis lay on the idea of 'In', through which the strong can hold themselves moderate. To Lee Seock Hyung, these ideas were the base of people-oriented ruling. We can catch this point from his 'Hoyaga', a famous poem for people in the early Chosun dynasty, which vividly reveals the miserable life of the people. During his bureaucratic career, Lee Seock Hyung was indeed a person who endeavored to disclose and punish the greed of the strong.

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