Education About Asia: Online Archives

Bringing Korea into the Curriculum: United States, World, and European History

Download PDF

THE RATIONALE FOR A DBQ LESSON

Document-Based Essay (DBQ) questions teach students who are enrolled in Advanced Placement classes invaluable thinking and writing skills. Students learn to interpret primary source documents, critically examine different points of view, and deepen their understanding of textbooks and classroom discussions. Students in World, European, and United States History AP classes learn to combine outside information with the primary source material, an important step for writing research papers and college preparation. Traditionally the DBQ has been the preserve of gifted students. It is too valuable an instrument to be thus restricted because it offers opportunities for all students to participate in high-level critical thinking and writing exercises.

THE UNITED STATES, WORLD, AND EUROPEAN HISTORY DBQ ESSAY QUESTIONS

All students study late nineteenth and early twentieth century imperialism, but they may only learn about Korea when they examine the United States policy of containment and the Korean War in the eighth and eleventh grades. The following DBQ lessons provide additional opportunities to incorporate Korea into the curriculum.

This lesson seeks to illustrate by means of historical documents the rivalry among the world powers and its impact on Asia and the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The implications of nationalism, industrialism, and imperialism on a small nation such as Korea are clear. Students will comprehend the significance of unequal treaties and spheres of influence, concepts that are seldom understood. They will see the connections between the interests of the United States in the Philippines and the annexation of Korea by Japan. In the process of examining the documents, students will gain perspectives on American, European, Japanese, and Korean points of view. They may grow to understand the complexities of internal politics at a time when a nation is besieged simultaneously by major domestic and foreign challenges.

UNITED STATES HISTORY DOCUMENT-BASED ESSAY QUESTION
(Suggested reading time – 15 minutes)
(Suggested writing time – 45 minutes)

Directions: The following question requires you to construct a coherent essay that integrates your interpretation of Documents AM and your knowledge of the period referred to in the question. High scores will be earned only by essays that both cite key pieces of evidence from the documents and draw on outside knowledge of the period (Most of the documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise).

This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that:

  • Has a relevant thesis supported by evidence from the documents.
  • Uses all of the documents.
  • Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually.
  • Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the authors’ points of view.

Using specific examples from the documents below and your knowledge of United States history between 1865 and 1917, analyze the impact of Western rivalry and Japanese expansion in Korea.

Instructor’s Note: Utilize the Historical Background from the European/World History DBQ. Also use all of the documents in the European/World History DBQ except for Documents A, I, and K. Substitute the following documents in their place.

Document A

Source: Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States of America and Korea (Shufeldt Treaty), May 22, 1882.

Article I. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the President of the United States and the King of Chosen and the citizens and subjects of their respective Governments.

Article XIV. The High Contracting Powers hereby agree that, should at any time the King of Chosen grant to any nation, or to the merchants or citizens of any nation, any right, privilege, or favor, connected either with navigation, commerce, political or other intercourse, which is not conferred by this Treaty, such right, privilege, and favor shall freely inure to the benefit of the United States, its public officers, merchants, and citizens.

Document I

Source: Senator Albert J. Beveridge salutes American imperialism, 1900.

God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and admiration. No! He has given us the spirit of progress to overwhelm the forces of reaction throughout the earth. He has marked the American people as his chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the glory, all the happiness possible to man. We are trustees of the world’s progress, guardians of its righteous peace.

Document K

Source: The Portsmouth Treaty (negotiated by President Teddy Roosevelt following the Russo-Japanese War), 1905.

Article 1. The Government of Japan, through the Department of Foreign Affairs at Tokyo, will hereafter have control and direction of the external relations and affairs of Corea, and the diplomatic and consular representatives of Japan will have the charge of the subjects and interests of Corea in foreign countries.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beveridge, Albert J. “Albert J. Beveridge Salutes American Imperialism, 1900.” In Dennis Merrill and Thomas G. Paterson, eds. Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Vol. I. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.
Blacker, Carmen. The Japanese Enlightenment: A Study of the Writings of Fukuzawa Yukichi. Cambridge: The University Press, 1969.
Ch’oe, Mun-hyong. Chegukchuui Sidae Ui Yolgang Kwa Hanguk, Vol. 37 and 65. Seoul: Minumsa Press, 1990. Documents from Japanese History, “The Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 5, 1905,” http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/japan/docs/portsmouth.htm (cited June 26, 2002).
Drake, Frederick C. The Empire of the Seas: A Biography of Rear Admiral Robert Wilson Shufeldt, USN. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1984.
Ferry, Jules. “Preface to Tonkin, 1890.” In Brian Tierney and Joan Scott, eds. Western Societies: A Documentary History, Vol. II. New York: McGraw Hill, Inc., 1984.
Lee, Ki-baik. A New History of Korea. Seoul, Ilchokak Publishers, 1984.
Lee, Peter H. ed. Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, Vol. II. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center, “Treaty of Annexation,” http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/documents/kore1910.htm (cited June 26, 2002).

 

EUROPEAN HISTORY AND WORLD HISTORY Document-Based Essay Question
(Suggested writing time – 45 minutes)

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents A-M.

(Most of the documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise.)

This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that:

  • Has a relevant thesis supported by evidence from the documents.
  • Uses a majority of the documents.
  • Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible.
    Does not simply summarize the documents individually.
  • Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the authors’ points of view.

You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.

Using specific examples from the documents below, analyze the impact of European rivalry and Japanese expansion in Korea.

Historical Background: Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia faced decisive challenges from Western powers in the nineteenth century. In East Asia, in spite of internal unrest and Western exploitation, China largely held to policies based on tradition and custom. Japan, however, responded to the Western advance by embarking on a policy of reform that rapidly transformed Japan into a modern industrial nation. Known in the West as the “hermit kingdom,” Korea for centuries had rejected nearly all outside contact. Due to cultural and intellectual ties, Korean foreign relations were dominated by its affiliation with China, manifested through an annual tribute to Peking, and limited contact with Japan. Faced by what is now known as gunboat diplomacy, the Korean government in 1876 was forced to sign the Kanghwa Treaty with Japan, Korea’s first unequal treaty with a foreign power.

Document A

Source: Ch’oe Cheu, advocate of political, social, and economic reforms and founder of the Tonghak or Eastern Learning Movement: “On Spreading Virtue,” 1861.

I heard that the Westerners were building their churches and spreading their religion, proclaiming the will of God and not expecting wealth and honor, but conquering the world. I asked myself how could it be and how could such things happen? Our country is full of bad diseases, and the people have no peace. Suffering is the lot of the people. It is said that the West wins and takes whatever it fights for, and there is nothing in which it cannot succeed . . . . How can the plan of protecting the nation and securing peace for the people be made?

Document B

Source: Fairbank, John K., Edwin O. Reischauer, and Albert Craig. East Asia: Tradition and Transformation, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1989.

Document C

Source: Fukuzawa Yukichi, a Japanese intellectual and admirer of the European Enlightenment, especially its emphasis on reason as an instrument for achieving progress, 1881.

We {in Japan} cannot wait for our neighbour countries to become so civilised that all may combine together to make Asia progress. We must rather break out of formation and behave in the same way as the civilised countries of the West are doing . . . . We would do better to treat China and Korea in the same way as do the western nations.

Source: Fukuzawa Yukichi, a Japanese intellectual and admirer of the European Enlightenment, especially its emphasis on reason as an instrument for achieving progress, 1881. We {in Japan} cannot wait for our neighbour countries to become so civilised that all may combine together to make Asia progress. We must rather break out of formation and behave in the same way as the civilised countries of the West are doing . . . . We would do better to treat China and Korea in the same way as do the western nations.

Document D

Source: Treaty of Seoul with Russia, 1884.

Article I. 1. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russians and His Majesty the King of Corea [Korea] and their subjects, who shall enjoy full security and protection for their persons and property within the dominion of the other.

Article II. 2. All charges and complaints by the Corean Authorities or by Corean subjects against Russian subjects in Corea shall be heard and decided by the Russian courts and according to the laws of Russia.

Article V. 1. At all the ports and places open to trade, Russian subjects shall enjoy full liberty to trade in all kinds of merchandise. . . . They may freely transact business with Corean or other subjects without any intervention on the part of the Corean Authorities. . . .

Document E

Source: Jules Ferry, former Premier of France, explains his theory of colonialism in the Preface to Tonkin, 1890.

Colonial policy is the child of the industrial revolution. For wealthy countries where capital abounds and accumulates fast, where industry is expanding steadily, where even agriculture must become mechanized in order to survive, exports are essential for public prosperity. The European consumer-goods market is saturated. Colonial policy is an international manifestation of the external laws of competition. Without either compromising the security of the country or sacrificing any of its past traditions and future aspirations, the Republicans have, in less than ten years, given France four kingdoms in Asia and Africa.

Document F

Source: Treaty of Shimonoseki (ended the Sino [Chinese]-Japanese War), 1895.

Article I. China recognizes definitely the full and complete independence and autonomy of Corea, and in consequence, the payment of tribute and the performance of ceremonies and formalities by Corea to China in derogation of such independence and autonomy, shall wholly cease for the future.

Article VI. From the date of the exchange of the ratification of this Act until the said Treaty and Convention are brought into actual operation, the Japanese Government; its officials; commerce; navigation; frontier intercourse and trade; industries; ships and subjects, shall, in every respect, be accorded by China most favored nation treatment.

Document G

Source: Korean King Kojong’s Fourteen-Article Oath, in a ceremony held at the royal ancestral shrine, 1895.

All thoughts of dependence on China shall be cut away, and a firm foundation for independence shall be secured. 6. The payment of taxes by the people shall be regulated by law. 8. The expenses of the royal household shall be the first to be reduced, by way of setting an example to the various ministries and local officials. 11. Young men of intelligence shall be sent abroad in order to study foreign science and industries. 14. Men shall be employed without regard to their origin, and in seeking for officials recourse shall be had to capital and country alike in order to widen the avenues for men of ability to find employment.

Document H

Source: Korean Yi Sangjae, diplomat, independence fighter, and politician and others: Memorial on National Salvation, 1898.

We, Your Majesty’s humble servants, desire to state that two important factors constitute an independent, and sovereign state: first, it must not lean upon another nation nor tolerate foreign interference in the national administration; second, it must help itself by establishing a wise policy and enforcing justice throughout the realm. Powerful neighbors have been treating us like a nobody, and even Your Majesty’s position has become perilous.

Document I

Source: So Chaep’il, reformer and founder of Korea’s first modern newspaper, The Independent, in People Are the Masters, 1898.

It is well known, however, that the power of the people, whether in civilized or barbaric nations, is greater than that of the officials. In Korea and China, the people do not understand their status, power, and rights, and therefore remain in slavery. When the people come to realize that they are the masters of the nation, the officials will then change and learn for the first time that the people grant them salaries and honors.

Document J

Source: Taft-Katursa Agreement, a memorandum of a conversation between Count Katsura, Prime Minister of Japan, and William Howard Taft, the personal representative of President Theodore Roosevelt, who later gave full approval of the agreement. 1905.

Secretary Taft observed that Japan’s only interest in the Philippines would be, in his opinion, to have these islands governed by a strong and friendly nation like the United States; Count Katsura confirmed in the strongest terms the correctness of his views on the point and positively stated that Japan does not harbor any aggressive designs whatever on the Philippines. Secretary Taft remarked to the effect that in his personal opinion, the establishment by Japanese troops of a suzerainty over Korea to the extent of requiring that Korea enter into no foreign treaties without the consent of Japan was the local result of the present war and would directly contribute to permanent peace in the East.

Document K

Source: The Protectorate Treaty (followed the Russo-Japanese War), 1905.

Article 1. The Government of Japan, through the Department of Foreign Affairs at Tokyo, will hereafter have control and direction of the external relations and affairs of Corea, and the diplomatic and consular representatives of Japan will have the charge of the subjects and interests of Corea in foreign countries.

Document L

Source: Kai-baik Lee, A New History of Korea. Ilchokak Publishers, Seoul, Korea, 1984, 301.


THE SCRAMBLE AMONG THE POWERS FOR CONCESSIONS
Year Country Concession
1883 Japan Laying of Pusan-Nagasaki undersea cable
1885 China Construction of Inch’ŏn-Ŭiju telegraph line
Japan Construction of Pusan-Inch’ŏn telegraph line
1886 Japan Permission to establish coaling station on Yŏngdo, off Pusan
1888 Japan Coastal fishing rights
1891 Japan Permission to establish coaling station on Wŏlmi Island, off Inch’ŏn
Territorial fishing rights off Kyŏngsang province
1894 Japan Building of Seoul-Pusan railway line
1895 US Gold mining rights at Unsan, P’yŏngan province
1896 US Building of Seoul-Inch’ŏn railway line
Russia Mining rights in Kyŏngwŏn and Chongsŏng counties, Hamgyŏng province
Permission to establish coaling station on Wŏlmi Island, off Inch’ŏn
Timber rights in the Yalu river basin and UllŬng Island areas
France Building of Seoul-Ŭiju railway line
1897 Germany Gold mining rights at Kŭmsŏng, Kangwŏn province
1898 Russia Permission to establish coaling station on Yŏngdo, off Pusan
US Laying of electricity and water mains in Seoul
Russia Authorization to establish Russo-Korean Bank
England Gold mining rights at Ŭnsan, P’yŏngan province
Japan Exclusive purchase rights to coal produced at P’yŏngyang

Document M

Source: Treaty of Annexation, Japan’s formal annexation of Korea, 1910.

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Majesty the Emperor of Korea, having in view the special and close relations between their respective countries, desiring to promote the common weal of the two nations and to assure the permanent peace in the Far East, and being convinced that these objectives can be best attained by the annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan, have resolved to conclude a treaty of such annexation. Article 1. His Majesty the Emperor of Korea makes the complete and permanent cession to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan of all rights of sovereignty over the whole of Korea.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blacker, Carmen. The Japanese Enlightenment: A Study of the Writings of Fukuzawa Yukichi. Cambridge: The University Press, 1969.
Ch’oe, Mun-hyong. Chegukchuui Sidae Ui Yolgang Kwa Hanguk, Vol. 37 and 65. Seoul: Minumsa Press, 1990.
Ferry, Jules. “Preface to Tonkin, 1890.” In Brian Tierney and Joan Scott, eds. Western Societies: A Documentary History, Vol. II. New York: McGraw Hill, Inc., 1984.
Lee, Ki-baik. A New History of Korea. Seoul, Ilchokak Publishers, 1984.
Lee, Peter H. ed. Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, Vol. II. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center, “Treaty of Annexation,” http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/documents/kore1910.htm (cited June 26, 2002).

The AAS Secretariat is closed on Thursday, November 24th, and Friday, November 25th, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.