Nation Building in South Korea
Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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In the years that I have spent working on this book I have acquired a greatnumber of intellectual, economic, and personal debts. I first became inter-ested in American diplomatic history as an undergraduate at AmherstCollege, where I had the good fortune to study with Gordy Levin, who setan example as a teacher and scholar that I have long sought to emulate. At...
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Nation building has been a ubiquitous component of American foreignpolicy during the last century. The United States has attempted to createand sustain nation-states that advance its interests and embody its ideals inplaces ranging from the Philippines to Vietnam to Iraq.∞ At no time didWashington engage in nation building more intensively than during the...
1 Security over Democracy
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The South Korean state would never have come into existence in 1948without American intervention. Nor would it have survived the hardshipsbrought on by national division and the horrific war that followed withoutvast U.S. military and economic assistance. For the United States, buildingand stabilizing South Korea came at an enormous cost in terms of both...
2 Institution Building: Civil Society
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By the end of the Korean War, Syngman Rhee had trapped the UnitedStates into supporting his government despite its blatant disregard for U.S.economic and political objectives. But American policymakers did not in-tend that South Korea be governed by such a regime perpetually. Theysought to use their vast influence over South Korean society to make its...
3 Institution Building: The Military
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Before 1945 few Koreans would have predicted that the political leaders whoproved most successful at guiding South Korea’s emergence as a modern,industrialized nation would come from the the military. The prestige of themilitary had declined throughout the nineteenth century, and no nationalarmed forces had existed on the peninsula during the three and a half...
4 Toward Developmental Autocracy
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Between 1948 and 1960 the United States supported Syngman Rhee’s highlyautocratic regime despite its minimal commitment to economic progress.At the same time, however, the Americans had done much to foster demandfor modernization and democracy among different groups in South Koreansociety. By the late fifties the results of these policies were readily apparent....
5 Development over Democracy
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When South Korea’s brief, undistinguished first experiment with democ-racy ended in 1961, a new consensus on the need for a strong govern-ment that could forge ahead with economic development quickly formed inWashington and Seoul. Americans and South Koreans agreed that improv-ing the country’s economic situation was so crucial that it needed to be...
6 Engaging South Korean Intellectuals
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Although the United States formally supported what could at best becalled a quasi-democratic system of government between 1961 and 1972 andeven helped derail its opposition on key issues, Americans working on theground in the Republic of Korea (rok) still hoped to broaden the scope ofparticipation in national politics and pave the way for more genuine democ-...
7 Molding South Korean Youth
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To succeed at nation building in the Republic of Korea (rok), Washingtontried to shape not only the country’s present but also its future. And it wasclearly the younger generation of South Koreans that held the key to thenation’s economic and political evolution. The increasing proportion ofyouth in the rok population, combined with the continuing influence of...
8 Toward Democracy
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When and how do developmental autocracies become democracies? His-tory provides no obvious answer to this question. It is clear, however, that ifan autocratic government succeeds in promoting rapid economic develop-ment, it will eventually encounter new socioeconomic groups that demandgreater autonomy from the state and more freedom of action. These groups...
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The transformation that occurred in South Korea during the three and ahalf decades after the Korean War was stunning and unpredictable. Amongthe dozens of nations to emerge from formal colonialism following WorldWar II, South Korea was one of the select few to achieve economic pros-perity and political democracy. Once deemed an economic basket case, the...
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 6 illus.
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: The New Cold War History