Chongjo

Yi, Tae-Jin. “King Chongjo: Confucianism, Enlightenment, and Absolute Rule.” Korea Journal, vol. 40, no. 4, Winter2000, p. 168. EBSCOhost

Examines Chongjo’s attempts to achieve his political agenda through scholarship and research.  Explains his motivation behind creating the Kyujanggak library and how it came to be the primary institution of his government.

Chongjo used his visits to the family tombs as an opportunity to expand his grandfather’s interaction with common people.  Yongjo had only met with commoner at the palace gates.  Previous kings had no such practice.  Chongjo revised the petitioner system that allowed people to bring grievances to the government’s attention. Staff were ordered to record such petitions in the King’s diary, the Ilsongnok (Records of Daily Reflection).

Chongjo instituted a program of higher learning beyond the passing of the civil service examination, as he strongly believed the Confucian ideal that self-improvement should be continual.  He also believed scholarship and martial arts should be equal, and strengthened his military to subdue those who opposed his new politics.

As he strove to eliminate factionalism within the court, Chongjo wrote Manch’on Myongwol Chuinong Chaso, a treatise of political philosophy defining the proper relationship between a monarch and his subjects.  He wrote extensively throughout his reign, but this was his most important work, comprising his thoughts on all manner of Confucian ideals, the functioning of government, and the relationship between rulers and the ruled.  This political philosophy formed the basis of his efforts to abolish slavery.

Chongjo on Wikipedia

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