This chapter explores the space for permissible criticism under the authoritarian rule of Syngman Rhee and the Liberal Party. While constraints on public expression certainly did exist, they were by no means insurmountable. Through an examination of Sasanggye and other monthlies, the chapter reveals the common tactics that intellectuals used to express critical viewpoints on the regime, postwar politics and society, and the South Korean political settlement. Remaining within the limits of authorized liberal nationalism, cautious writers took pains to obfuscate their objects of criticism and blunt their political grievances by incorporating them into social-science explanations and encoding them into the nation narrative. The circulation of critical, liberal nationalist discourse in the national media enabled the mounting of public disaffection for the corrupt and ineffectual Rhee-LP regime, and thereby set the stage for April 19th.
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