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19세기 후반 자생적 개혁론으로서의 동학사상은 한국개혁사상으로서의 보편성을 지니고 있다. 이와 함께 동학사상에는 종교정치사상으로서의 특수성과, 개혁의 차원을 넘어서는 사회변혁론으로서의 사상적 혁신성도 발견되어진다. 이 점에서 동학사상은 한국개혁사상의 완성인 동시에 한국적 민주주의 전통의 특성을 잘 보여주고 있다. 1893년에 작성된 사발통문은 이러한 동학의 사상적․실천적 의식과 대안이 동학농민혁명으로 이어지게 하는 계기가 되었다. 사발통문은 조직화된 사회변혁운동으로서의 동학농민혁명의 가치를 확인해 주는 사료적 중요성을 가진 것이었다. 동시에 동학농민혁명의 지도자로서 전봉준이 혁명을 구상하고 준비하고 실행에 옮기는 과정상의 연맥점을 명확히 보여준다는 점에서도 의미를 가진 것이었다. 사발통문 거사계획 이후 전개된 동학농민혁명은, 비록 그것이 전봉준을 위시한 남접세력들에 의해 주도된 측면이 강하나, 혁명의 목적과 방향, 그리고 구체적 실천론에 있어 동학과 전반적으로 그 맥을 같이 하고 있었다. 이 점에서 동학과 사발통문, 그리고 동학농민혁명으로의 전개과정은 우리 근대사의 가장 획기적이고 의미 있는 정신사적 발전이라 평가할 수 있다.


The 1894 Donghak Peasant Revolution spread throughout the country. The agreement between Jeon Bong Jun and Son Hwa Jung was crucial in expanding the development of the Donghak Peasant Revolution nationwide. Jeon Bong Jun attempted to revolt on his own, however, the uprising failed to spread nationwide. This is why Jeon Bong Jun sought Son Hwa Jung and enlisted his participation on March 13, 1894. Son Hwa Jung was a leader in mobilizing the largest Donghak organization in the Gochang region. Son Hwa Jung didn’t participate in the Donghak Peasant Revolution for simply personal reasons, rather, one could say the peasant uprising was wedded with the Donghak Movement, which was deployed in 1892. This truth is evident in the developments that followed the Donghak Peasant Revolution uprising in March. The Donghak Peasant Revolution spread following the the uprising in March, when the peasants became entangled with the student organization, and it’s true that one cannot talk about the 1894 affair without mentioning this. For this reason, the uprising in Mujang on March 20 is considered to be the start of the Donghak Peasant Revolution. After the Mujang insurgence, Son Hwa Jung served as Jeon Bong Jun’s assistant. Son Hwa Jung helped Jeon Bong Jun seize Jeonju, aided him in pushing the system of Jib Gang So and after the September uprising, planned the occupation of Gwangjuto Naju in order to protect the rear. The Donghak peasants in the Gochang region followed Son Hwa Jung. Although Hong Nak Gwan and some of the Donghak peasants from the Gochang region joined Jeon Bong Jun’s unit and engaged in combat following the September uprising, most in Jeon Bong Jun’s unit, after setting off from Samnye on October 11, migrated to Gwangju, participated as rear guards and in the attack at Naju. Hong Nak Won’s unit, which was engaged in combat, retreated to Gwangju and took part in the Naju attack. The significance of the Gochang region, which was occupied by the Donghak Peasant Revolution, is that after the opening of the port, the peasant uprising joined with the Donghak organization, and the area provided a footing for the national peasant revolution. The Gochang region also became a solid footing that not only provided the stable military and man power that enabled the Donghak Peasant Revolution to spread, but for Jeon Bong Jun to be the best leader from the front line.