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The Making of the First Korean PresidentSyngman Rhee's Quest for Independence$
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Young Ick Lew

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831684

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831684.001.0001

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(p.281) Conclusion
The Making of the First Korean President

Young Ick Lew

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter argues that Rhee’s 1948 election as president was a tribute to his peerless competence and steadfast effort towards attaining Korean independence. He possessed ample qualifications to be president and won the support of the South Korean people and the U.S. government through unparalleled persistence and determination. Rhee also possessed qualities lacking in his political rivals of the time. In order to provide this wider breadth of understanding with respect to Rhee’s rise to become the Republic of Korea’s first president, the remainder of the chapter presents a ten-point summary of his political assets: (i) royal descent; (ii) superb intellect; (iii) messianic conviction; (iv) a patriot par excellence; (v) reputation building as the “father of the Korean nation”; (vi) fund-raising capacity; (vii) Machiavellian skills; (viii) a vision for nation building; (ix) support from compatriots; and (x) support from Americans.

Keywords:   Syngman Rhee, Korean president, Republic of Korea, Korean Provisional Government, Korean independence

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