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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.5 No.1 pp.15-46

Moral Development and the March First Movement

Hope Elizabeth May
Central Michigan University/Kyung Hee University
January 31, 2019 February 22, 2019 March 1, 2019


This paper offers a discussion of the March First Movement of 1919 (MFM) through the lens of moral development. Central to the discussion is the moral development of the most well-known personality associated with the MFM, Yu Kwan-sun (1902-1920). After discussing Yu’s own moral development, I connect this discussion to another important but less well-known figure associated with the MFM, Lee Sŭnghun (1864-1930). As a chief organizer of the MFM, Lee Sŭnghun made it possible for Yu Kwan-sun to both display and further develop her virtues and moral energies during the MFM. A discussion of Lee Sŭnghun also enables us to appreciate the thread of moral energy that was spinning prior the MFM, and which blossomed into the MFM in large part due to his efforts. I close by briefly discussing another participant in the MFM, Louise Yim (Im Yŏngsin) (1899-1977). Like Yu Kwan-sun, Yim was imprisoned and tortured for her participation in the MFM. Unlike Yu, however, Yim survived and dedicated her adult life to the independence of her country and the education of its citizens. A deeper consideration of the individuals involved in the MFM can connect us in the present to their virtues and moral energies. To know these individuals is to be inspired and moved by them. Thus the stories of the individual participants in the MFM remain an important resource for international ethics.