S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.43 (2008)
고려 충선왕의 정치개혁과 元의 영향
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.43, pp. 267-300
- Chungseon-wang conducted a strong political reform, and pursued three specific agendas in the process. First, he abolished the Joengbang office, which was organized during the Military Regime period and had abused personnel appointments ever since. Second, he eliminated superfluous posts from the government, in order to enhance the ruling authority of himself, to simplify the resolution process in the upper echelon of the government, and enhance the offices’ job efficiency through merger & abolition. And third, he enforced official discipline both in the capital and other local areas, by elevating the status of inspecting officers and offices. Former King Chungryeol-wang failed to implement those reforms during his thirty years in the throne, yet Chungseon-wang did it in only a few years.
Also, in terms of actual process and timetable, his reforms exhibited traces of certain level of influences and inspirations from the Yuan empire’s political reforms that were in progress at the time as well. Since the days of Qubilai(1260-1294), responding to the Muslim ministers’ harsh policy of taxation, Confucian scholars and traditional officials criticised their abuse of the personnel appointment system, and argued that they brought not only needless personnel but also significant disorder to the government. They argued that the government’s personnel structure and appointment process should be reformed and further developed, superfluous posts especially related to tax administration should be eliminated from the government, and functions of disciplinary monitors should be considerably enhanced. And during the subsequent reigns of Temur(1294-1307) and Qayishan(1308-1311), unofficial orders or requests that circumvented the authority of Chung-shu Sheng(Central Secretariat) were abolished, the reduction of government’s size continued, and the inner structure of Yu-shih t’ai(the Censorate) was modified, while the overall status of the body was elevated as well.
Chungseon-wang, who lived in Yuan for the better part of his life(before the enthronement in 1298, as well as before & after his reinstatement in 1308, till his death in 1325), witnessed all these policies and directions of the Yuan government, and it is highly possible that all those Yuan conventions could have had certain level of influence upon him or at least inspired him to engage in highly concentrated political reforms. Admittedly, the agendas exhibited through his reforms were traditional ones, which could have and should have been implemented without any exterior stimuli, but considering Chungseon-wang’s unique status in terms of his relationship with Yuan, and the fact that he implemented a strong reform even when he almost completely vacated his seat for the duration of his reinstatement years, one should consider the possibility of a potential relationship between his reforms and the Yuan court reforms. Such relationship could reveal the actual process of Goryeo’s acceptance of Yuan’s institutions and conventions, and the nature of relationship between both sides.