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The Idea of Loyalty to the King and Political Mentality of Donglin(東林) Faction Leaders in Ming(明) Era: Forced Obedience or Spontaneous Will?

Hyunguen Chang 1

1용인대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In ancient Chinese political thought, the idea of loyalty to the King had been changed from forced obedience to voluntary will. Historical intelligentsia consider serving the King based on moral principles to be the great loyalty(大忠). Integration of loyalty and filial duty(孝), and the logic of giving priority to public matter over private matter(先公後私) reinforced spontaneous loyalty to the King, Donglin(東林) faction leaders of Ming dynasty possess mentality of spontaneous loyalty of exhausting oneself(盡己). Their behaviors and thoughts were consistent in the logic of veneration of the King’s power(尊君論), in that at first, they retained social responsibility and were armed with mentality of worrying about the polity and the people(憂國憂民); secondly, the idea of the sole Dao(殉道) which is giving their lives for Dao(道), and the mentality of loyalty to the King(忠君) which is remaining faithful to the King were applied simultaneously; thirdly, the mentality of vigilance and fear(戒懼) that being vigilant and afraid of crisis was expressed. The Donglin(東林) faction leaders were tried to acknowledge the supremacy of sovereign rights and circumscribe it at the same time, but they were completely defeated by cruel power in reality. Albeit they held the confucian ideal of realization of moral society, the logic of limitation of the King’s power(限君) was collapsed by the logic of veneration of the King’s power(尊君) and the spontaneous obedience to the King revealed its limit.

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