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Chapter 21

EAS105H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 21: Emperor Meiji, Secret Mission, Empress Myeongseong

East Asian Studies
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Chapter 21 Korea in the Turbulent Nineteenth Century (1800-1895)
Politics and Society under consort rule
New Social Policies
- Because of social dislocations, new diseases, flood exacerbated by deforestation
- Population dropped
In 1801(liberalization of the slave system)
- The dowager regent released most of the sixty-seven thousand official slaves, while
retaining those slaves working in local offices
- Many government slaves had already gained their freedom either through military
service or purchase, and the remainder no longer worked for the government
- But mostly yangban slave masters retained their power until the dynasty itself was near
its end
- Sent Christians into exile, Chong Tasan wrote several treatises proposing reforms in local
administration and the penal system
Social Ferment and Popular Culture
- 19th century, no longer dominated by men of yangban origin, new ideas that reied to
make sense of society and promote reform were propagated by men of intermediate
Economic Developments and Rebellion
- Peasants adopted a number of strategies for survival; when these failed or when
officials proved rapacious, they rebelled
- 2 survival strategies
1. Kye: voluntary organization that promoted mutual assistance
Provided a mechanism for people to pool funds and take turns using the capital
Functions in the modern Korea, provide a means of women to gain access to credit,
and in overseas communities where immigrants lack access to banks
2. Planting New World crops and opening marginal fields
- Rebellions constitute the chief indicators of social unrest un 19th century
- A major rebellion led by fallen yangban and professional geomancer Hong Kyongnae
broke out in the northwest Pyong an province in 1811
- In 1862, the governments failure to solve the problems of maladministration in the land
tax, military cloth tax, and grain relief and loan systems provided the main cause for a
series of rebellions throughout the country
Choe and the Tonghak Religion
- A more lasting response to social dislocation came in the form of new religion
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