大院君政權의 權力基盤과 改革政策
(The) political foundation and reform policies of Daewongun
대원군정권 권력기반 개혁정책;
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Daewongun Lee Ha-eung is known as a reformative politician during the period of the modern Korea in transition. Studies on relations between Daewongun and political power have been limited to a kind of dichotomy described as conservatism vs. progression and affirmation vs. negation. The limitation of the studies results from the lack of verification about his domestic and foreign policies for reform. The studies on his domestic policies cannot clarify the meaning of affirmation and negation; those on foreign policies mainly point out the fact that he did not understand the Western civilization and brought on the delay in the development of Korea. It cannot be said that the Western ideas and civilization could modernize Korea those days and that he is a conservative politician only in terms of foreign policies based on ostracism of the West. It must be evaluated that Daewongun cannot be confined by the dichotomy of affirmation and negation, but estimated by unified understanding. This dissertation is a study on Daewongun, his political foundation, and the real state of the reform policy. First, it is on the political source of Daewongun's power, and the power structure and process of the Joseon Dynasty which enabled Daewongun to exercise authority. Second, it is on the existence of Jongchinbu as an institute of Daewongun's power source, especially on reinforcement of Jongchinbu and the political roles of its members. Third, it is on the relation of Daewongun's political power and his political purposes, which is studied in terms that his reform policy means the extension of his political power. Last, it is on the factors of his political collapse in terms of the use of his political power and the limit of his political source. The result of the dissertation can be summarized like the following. Daewongun established the foundation of his political authority mainly through Jongchingu and he exercised his formal and legal power through it. Daewongun's authority was practiced by the king's right to appoint cabinet members of the Dynasty and it was a process of policy and considered a legal system. Before then the Kim tribe from Andong had monopolized the matters of finance, military affairs, and officialdom through Bibyeonsa. In this situation Daewongun strengthened the kindred of the king and established the basis of enforced royal authority. Daewongun was mainly concerned about the reconstruction of Jonchinbu and the improvement of the social and political positions occupied by the Jongchinbu members. This is regarded a preparatory stage for him to hold the reins of political power. By his efforts the position of Jongchinbu was consolidated and the social and political status of its members was elevated. Under the changed background Daewongun held real power and exercised authority in the cause of assistance to the younger king. In order to found a legal basis for his political authority, Daewongun made Jongchinbu the highest public office and as the chief of it, he was equal to king in political power. He took the place of king in the matter of appointment of the cabinet members and distributed ministers in his own faction to every major office. Deawongun's power exercise was acted within the legal process of policy and administration. His political status and position was the highest "guktaegong" though it was ideal. His will to the power was embodied by so called "daewonibunbu" of Jongchinbu. So Jongchinbu became a political structure to carry on Daewongun's policies and actualize his will to the political authority. But Jongchinbu was not equipped with any administrational divisions in its structure and it meant Jongchinbu could not be an executive organ. The political power during the period of Daewongun's seizure of power lasted in the reciprocal relation with his governing policies. The central power of Daewongun was the kindred of the king who founded their genuine status through their unique system and helped Daewongun by being distributed under the office named "euijeongbu." Daewongun held the political power to decide and execute policies formally and legally through the Jongchinbu institute for he did not assume the reins of "euijeongbu," the direct monarch system. Therefore, Daewongun in the earlier stage of his seizure of political authority was assisted by the most powerful political group, the Kim tribe from Andong and another power group named "noron," for his power was not strong enough to control them. His reform policy was performed in the way to discipline landed proprietors and verify the actual condition of memorial halls for Confucianist service to honour distinguished scholars and statesmen named "seowon." Daewongun expanded the foundation of his rein in the process of reconstruction of Gyeongbok palace and subjugation of the Western people within Joseon and commanded armaments through the establishment of "samgunbu." By these organizations and change of the offices Daewongun became to hold real power since the 7th year of the King Gojong's enthronement. In fact, it became possible for Daewongun directly to control the groups of vested rights such as the most powerful political group at that time, the Kim tribe from Andong and another power group named "noron." He carried out the policy to remove "seowon" to disorganize the power groups' political and economic foundation. His abolishment policy of "seowon" was not agreed by the King but came from himself, and it meant Daewongun grasped the kingship in person. His seizure of the sovereign system made the existence of the King insecure and the power groups of invested rights felt worry about their political status. Their sense of unstableness in political power led them to make up an anti-Daewongun group. As a result of it, the King recovered his kingship which was entrusted to Daewongun and the assistant political organization between the King and Daewongun was dissolved. So Daewongun lost the cause and justice of his executive power and authority. The King Gojong concentrated the members of the anti-Daewongun power groups and established the direct royal rule system by the reorganization of political power distribution. But the King's direct rule system did not include the changed aspects of political power and the King, accordingly, reduced the upholding foundation from the people.