The New People's Association, established in April 1906 was a clandestine organization for fostering the independence and national strength of the Korean Empire. The organization was formed by social activists such as Ahn Changho, Shin Chaeho, Park Eunsik, and Lim Chi Jung.
|New People's Association|
With their belief that the enlightenment can strengthen the national power of Korea to achieve independence, they took in actions on military movement, education, publication, and industrialization. Even after the New People's Association had been dissolved by the Governor-General of Korea in 1911, they made a huge contribution to the Korean Independence Movement.
After the Independence Club (독립협회, 獨立協會) was dissolved on December 25, 1898 as Emperor Gojong officially announced a prohibition on congresses held by people, the Empire of Japan made a treaty with the Korean Empire called the Eulsa Treaty which made the Korean Empire become a protectorate of the Empire of Japan. The treaty laid the foundation for the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1907 and subsequent annexation of Korea in 1910. Even though Emperor Sunjong, who is a son of Emperor Gojong, sent a Hague Secret Emissary Affair to expose the unfairness of the treaty in the Hague Convention of 1907, due to the Great Powers, they were ignored.
From the initiation by Ahn Changho in Los Angeles, California, the people who used to be the leaders of the Independence Club decided to organize Korean New People's Association (대한신민회) from Pyeongyang and Seoul in the late 1906. After the establishment, they established branches nationwide, and started to support education, industrialization, and military actions for independence. However, in 1911, the New People's Association was dissolved. Even though they were dismissed, their ideology and main actions were inherited by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea later.
The main political ideology of the New People's Association was based on ideals of democracy and republicanism, which is far different from the constitutional monarchy the Independence Club espoused. Also, to strengthen national power, they asserted that citizens should be reformed to become new people (신민, 新民) first. In other words, they believed people should be 'prepared' first for the opportunity of Korean independence.
Military School of the New RisingEdit
The New People's Association had supported the Righteous Army movement (militias in Korea) to restore the power of the nation. They established the Military School of the New Rising, which made a huge contribution to the foundation of the Korean Liberation Army (한국 광복군), Korean Independence Army (대한독립군), Korean Revolutionary Army (조선혁명군), and Righteous Patriots Corps (의열단) from 1911 to 1920.
As they believed that the enlightenment is one of the most crucial factors to strengthen national power, the New People's Association also made a huge investment in education in Korea. It is assumed that some hundreds of middle schools were established by the New People's Association.
The New People's Association also published the Daehan Maeil Sinbo (Korean Daily News, 대한매일신보) At the same time, Sonyeon (Boys, 소년) was published as a monthly magazine for students, and all these publication activities provided a basis of the modern culture of Korea.