Confucius was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure known for his popular aphorisms and for his models of social interaction.
The Analects are a collection of sayings attributed to Confucius. They can be read in their entirety at acmuller.net
Don't be intimidated by the foreign table of context. The text is in English, and is written as short passages that are numbered.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”
In the 1860s, an indigenous religion, Tonghak (동학, 東學,Eastern Learning), which combined such aspects as the meditation of Buddhism, ethics of Confucianism, primal nature of Shamanism, Taoism cultivation of energy and the personal God of Catholicism to oppose 'Western Learning' (Catholicism) arose from the indignation of the lower classes of yangban (ruling aristocratic class) oppression and foreign influence in Korea, especially Christian missionaries and Japanese imports . It was not only a religious movement but a social movement as well and concerned with the peasantry and the improvement of their conditions and reform of the corrupt government. The idea of the dignity and equality of all men was to influence future democratic movements.The initial success of the revolt led a panic court to seek help from China and Japan, leading to the first Sino-Japanese War and Japanese colonization of Korea.
Click on one of the pictures provided to learn more about the Tonghak Rebellion.
Taewŏn'gun built up his own political power by balancing one faction against another in the swirling party politics of the decaying dynasty and took advantage of his position to establish a strong party of his own. He promoted the reestablishment of a strong bureaucratic state and the reconstruction of the magnificent Kyŏngbok Palace in Seoul. He suppressed his critics and opponents and abolished the sŏwŏn, or study centers, which had turned into focal points of factional groupings. He relentlessly persecuted foreign missionaries and native Christians (Catholics), who were said to threaten the traditional religious-moral order of the nation that was once called the Hermit Kingdom.
It was Taewŏn'gun who had turned down the requests of foreign powers to open Korea for diplomatic and commercial relations. In his antiforeignism and in his struggle with foreign nations, he emphasized the need to expel the "Western barbarians" who were then rapidly expanding into various parts of Asia—often spearheaded by their gunboats. The forcible but brief entries of the French and the Americans into Kanghwa Island and elsewhere occurred during the regency of Taewŏn'gun.
Taewŏn'gun's forceful and often eccentric handling of domestic and foreign affairs of the nation aroused strong opposition from various directions. The large expenditures needed for armaments for the outmoded Korean army to "expel the barbarians, " and the heavy expenses and enormous requisitions of labor and materials needed for the renovation of the capital, increased the burdens of the peasantry. Numerous officials ousted by Taewŏn'gun, and the literati of thesŏwŏn whose lands had been confiscated, resisted the government of Taewŏn'gun. Faced with such opposition, Taewŏn'gun availed himself of the coming of age of his son, King Kojong, to retire from the chores of regency in 1873.