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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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President of the Korean Provisional Governments

President of the Korean Provisional Governments

(p.89) Chapter 5 President of the Korean Provisional Governments
The Making of the First Korean President

Young Ick Lew

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter details events in Syngman Rhee’s life following the March First Movement of 1919. The mass demonstrations not only forced Korea’s Japanese rulers to rethink their colonial policies on the peninsula, but it also proved to be a catalyst in bringing about a significant increase in organized resistance by Koreans within the country as well as abroad. The first republican government (in exile) in Korea’s long history came into being in the wake of the March First Movement, with Rhee as its president, even though he had not actively sought the job. An examination of the documents shows that Rhee was elected in absentia and was not even aware of his own ascendancy until well after the election occurred. As his first order of business, President Rhee sought recognition for the new Korean republic from the United States and other powers participating in the Paris Peace Conference, which had been in session since January 12, 1919.

Keywords:   Syngman Rhee, Korean independence, Korean resistance, Japanese colonial rule, March First Movement, republican government

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