History of The Joseon Dynasty - Factional Struggle

Factional Struggle

The Sarim faction, which suffered a series of political defeats during the reign of Yeonsangun, Jungjong, and Myeongjong gained the control of the government in Seonjo's reign, but soon was split into Western faction and Eastern faction, which in turn split into Northern and Southern factions. Western faction also eventually split into Old Learning and New Learning factions. The change in power between these factions were often accomplished with charges of treason and were accompanied with bloody purge, initiating a cycle of revenge with each change of power.

One example is Gichuk Treason Case of 1589 (기축옥사), in which Easterner Jeong Yeo-rip was accused of conspiracy to start rebellion. Jeong Yeo-rip had formed a society with group of supporters that also received military training to fight against the Japanese marauders. There is still a dispute about the nature and purpose of his group, which reflected desire for classless society and spread throughout Honam region. Jeong Cheol, head of the Western faction, was in charge of investigating the case and used this event to effect widespread purge of Easterners who had slightest connection with Jeong Yeo-rip. Eventually 1,000 Easterners were killed or exiled in the aftermath.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Joseon Dynasty

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