The causes and aims of Yŏngjo’s Chŏngmihwan’guk

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In the seventh month of 1727, Yŏngjo shocked his entire court by removing the Noron (the Old Doctrine) faction and restoring to power the Soron (the Young Doctrine) faction. What was shocking was Yŏngjo removed a faction that was loyal to his rule, and restored a faction that had campaigned against him and in favour of his brother Kyŏngjong. In addition, within eight months of this Soron restoration or Chŏngmihwan’guk, rebels launched the largest military rebellion of the eighteenth-century against Yŏngjo’s rule. This was the Musin rebellion, and it was led by supporters of this same Soron faction, some of whom Yŏngjo had restored to office in the Chŏngmihwan’guk.
This study forms part of an ongoing investigation into the Musin rebellion. In this paper, I aim to analyse the causes of the Chŏngmihwan’guk. What was the character of the political events and strategies that led Yŏngjo to restore to power the Soron? The answer to this question lies partly in the character of Chosŏn factional conflict that had developed over two centuries, and partly in the complex succession crisis that engulfed the reigns of three kings between 1689 and 1727, and these subjects will form the basis of this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Association of Korean Studies Papers
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2011


  • Yŏngjo
  • Factionalism
  • Chosŏn
  • Korean politics

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