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THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA (ROK), or South Korea, was established August 15, 1948. Syngman Rhee was chosen as the first president through elections supervised by the United Nations. The period of Rhee's rule is the First Republic. From the end of the Korean War (1950–53) until 1960, Rhee, who was a graduate of several American universities, grew increasingly autocratic. He was supported by the Liberal Party and by the Democratic Party. He lost Democratic Party support over his autocratic rule. Rhee's government was marked by enough corruption that it eventually sparked riots. Repression evoked more civil disturbances, forcing his resignation.

From April 1960 until May 1961, there was a brief period of democratic rule in the Second Republic. The constitution was revised and Chang Myon, ...

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