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文定王后의 政治活動 硏究

Title
文定王后의 政治活動 硏究
Other Titles
Queen Munjŏng’s Political Activities
Authors
손현지
Issue Date
2004
Department/Major
대학원 사학과
Publisher
梨花女子大學校 大學院
Degree
Master
Advisors
李培鎔
Abstract
조선사회는 儒敎를 국가통치이념으로 삼고, 家父長制를 국가의 핵심 질서로 채용함으로서 여성을 통제하고 억압하는 기제로 이용하였다. 따라서 여성의 사회적 활동은 자유롭지 못했으며 여성의 정치활동이라는 것은 왕실여성들의 직·간접적인 참여가 전부였다. 이러한 가운데 文定王后는 조선시대 6명의 垂簾聽政者 중 가장 적극적이고 활발한 정치참여의 모습을 보여주었다. 그러나 지금까지 文定王后에 대한 평가는 비판 일변도의 모습을 보이고 있다. 이런 부정적인 평가 이면에는 지금껏 정치무대에서 수동적이고 소극적인 위치에 있던 여성이 정치의 주체로 나섰다는 점에서 당시 유자들의 반감을 샀던 것으로 보이며, 직접적으로는 文定王后에 의해 가장 큰 피해를 입은 士林들에 의해 『明宗實錄』이 기술되었다는데서 그 원인을 찾을 수 있다. 본고에서는 기존에 文定王后의 부정적인 요소로 지적되었던 士林에 대한 무차별적인 탄압과 外戚의 발호, 불교숭상정책의 시행, 撤簾後 계속적인 정국간섭 등에 대한 배경과 실태 분석을 통해 지금과는 다른 시각에서의 평가가 가능할 것으로 기대된다. 우선 사림에 대한 무차별적인 탄압과 외척의 발호는 明宗의 즉위초기 乙巳士禍의 起禍로 대변될 수 있다. 을사사화는 지금까지 大尹과 士林에 대한 文定王后와 小尹의 정치적 보복행위로 평가받아왔다. 그러나 乙巳士禍는 단순한 보복행위가 아닌 文定王后가 大尹과 士林 위주로 구성된 조정을 개편하고 그 속에서 정치적 주도권을 잡아나가는 과정이었다. 이를 통해 문정왕후는 수렴청정기간동안 자의적인 정국운영의 발판을 마련하고, 명종에게 보다 안정된 정국을 넘겨주려 한 것으로 평가해 볼 수도 있다. 한편, 불교숭상정책의 시행은 文定王后의 정치적 행보와 깊은 연관을 맺고 있다. 이는 단순히 개인적 신앙심 때문에 崇儒抑佛을 내건 조선사회에 역행한 것으로 평가받고 있다. 그러나 문정왕후의 불교숭상정책은 개인적 신앙심에서 뿐만이 아닌 당시 사회적인 문제였던 避役僧 증가문제의 해결과 정국개편의 일환으로 儒·佛共存을 통해 士林을 견제하고자 했던 의도가 숨어있었던 것으로 보인다. 끝으로 文定王后는 撤簾後에도 계속적으로 정국에 개입한 것으로 풀이되고 있다. 文定王后의 撤簾後 정치활동을 살펴보면 王室 大小事 및 外戚의 人事문제 개입, 불교숭상정책 시행에 개입하고 있다. 그러나 이것은 내용상으로 보통의 왕실여성들의 비공식적인 정치활동과 큰 차이를 보이는 것은 아니다. 다만 문정왕후가 明宗의 母后로서 8년이라는 기간동안 垂簾聽政에 임했기 때문에 완전히 정치적으로 배제될 수는 없었다. 특히 文定王后가 外戚의 人事에 개입해 이들을 통해 계속적으로 정치적 영향력을 발휘했을 것이라고 평가받고 있지만, 명종이 왕비의 외척세력을 이용해 문정왕후의 외척들을 견제하고 있으며 尹元衡 등이 축출되고 있는 모습이 실제로 나타나고 있는 것으로 보아 이에 대해서는 재고의 여지가 있을 것으로 보인다. 文定王后의 정치활동을 두고 史臣들은 "암탉이 울면 집안이 망한다"라고 표현하고 있다. 이는 남성 중심의 가부장제 사회속에서 여성으로서 文定王后가 그 한계점을 여실히 드러낸 것이라고 할 수 있다. 그러나 문정왕후의 정치활동이 갖는 가장 큰 의미는 여성의 참여가 철저히 배재되었던 남성중심 사회에서도 여성의 정치활동 영역을 어디까지 넓힐 수 있는지를 보여주었다는 측면에서는 의미가 크다고 보인다. 따라서 본고에서는 기존의 문정왕후에 대한 평가를 보다 객관적으로 보고 재고해 볼 수 있는 측면을 제시하고자 한다.;Neo-Confucianism, which served as the ruling ideology, and the patriarchal system, representing the core of the social order, were the main weapons which were used to control and limit women during the Chosoˇn dynasty. As a result, women’s social activities were severely curtailed, with engagement in political activities being the sole prerogative of female members of the royal clan. Of the six dowager-regents which came to power during the Chosoˇn dynasty, Queen Munjoˇng was by far the most politically active. However, to date Queen Munjoˇng has been for the most perceived in a negative light. It appears that this negative perception has been based on two factors, with the first being the inherent opposition and revulsion which this strong queen created in the hearts of politicians who believed in the need for a woman to be passive, and the other centered around the fact that the Myoˇngjong silrok was written by the Salim faction, which was far and away the faction that suffered the most at the hands of this dowager-regent. This paper delved into the background to the dowager’s oppression of the Salim faction, the rise of the her family during her reign, the implementation of her Buddhism policy, and her continued interference in politics even after she had stepped down as regent- all of which have been enumerated as some of the negative aspects of Queen Munjoˇng’s reign- in order to conduct a new evaluation of this fascinating woman. The oppression of the Salim faction and rise of the consort families can be dated back to the purge of 1545 (oˇlsa sahwa), which occurred at the beginning of King Myoˇngjong’s reign. This purge has been widely perceived as an act of revenge on the part of Queen Munjoˇng and her Soyun faction against the Taeyun and Salim factions. However, this action was more than a simple act of revenge; rather it represented one aspect of the queen’s efforts to reorganize a political structure dominated by these two factions in order to secure her own ability to exercise political leadership. It appears that Queen Munjoˇng intended to use here tenure as dowager-regent to lay the foundation for the more independent and stable political structure which she planned to bestow upon her son, King Myoˇngjong. Meanwhile, the queen’s Buddhism policy, which was closely related to her own political orientation, has been widely perceived as having run counter to a Chosoˇn society which was built around the notion of anti-Buddhism, and as having been advanced to promote her own religious beliefs. However, this policy stemmed not only from her own personal beliefs, but was also seen as a means of countering the growing problem of commoners becoming monks in order to avoid having to pay taxes, as well as a means of restraining the Salim faction in order to reorganize the political structure through the promotion of the coexistence of Confucianism and Buddhism. Lastly, Queen Munjoˇng has been widely perceived as having continuously interfered in politics, and this even after the end of her tenure as dowager-regent. However, this interference was limited to matters directly related to the royal family, personnel issues-such as the appointment of the members of her family to official positions-, and to the implementation of her Buddhism policy. In this regards, her activities were for the most part consistent with the unofficial activities carried out by other female members of the royal family. Moreover, Queen Munjoˇng, who had been actively involved in every political decision during her eight years as the regent, or until her son King Myoˇngjong reached the age of maturity, could hardly be expected to walk away from politics altogether after she stepped down. In particular, there is a need to reconsider the widespread belief that Queen Munjoˇng was able to continue to hold considerable political power because of the fact that she had managed to get members of her family appointed to high official positions. The reason for the need for such a reassessment is as follows: King Myoˇngjong, who ascended the throne after Queen Munjoˇng, proceeded to restrain his mother’s faction by playing them off against the family of Queen Insun and subsequently to remove members of Munjoˇng’s family, such as Yun Woˇn-hyoˇng, from power. Many merit subjects characterized Munjoˇng’s foray into politics as follows, ‘It is a sad house when the hen crows louder than the rooster.’ Such a saying is clear evidence of the incredible odds which were stacked against Queen Munjoˇng, as a woman in the patriarchal Chosoˇn society, with regards to her desire to involve herself in politics. Above all, Queen Munjoˇng’s political activities, which took place against the backdrop of a patriarchal society which shunned the very thought of any female involvement in public life, prove that women are capable of enlarging the scope of their political activities even under such oppressive circumstances. Therefore, this paper attempted to introduce a few factors which should be reassessed in order to develop a new and more objective understanding of Queen Munjoˇng.
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