1872 – 1964
Who was Ham Tae-young?
Hahm Tae-young was a South Korean politician, pastor and leader of the Presbyterian Church of Korea. He succeeded Kim Seong-su as the third Vice President of South Korea, a post that he held from 1952 to 1956, after which he was replaced by Chang Myon. He was also a judge during the Korean Empire and an independence leader during Korea under Japanese rule. He was one of the organizers of the March 1st Movement.
During his tenure as a judge, he reversed the death sentence of Syngman Rhee who was a young man at the time and eventually became the first president of South Korea four decades later. After the Korean Empire fell and was annexed by Japan, Hahm devoted his life to getting his country back. He was one of the 48 representatives of the March 1st Movement and was jailed several times. Hahm was also active as a Christian leader, clashed often with Communists, and resisted Shinto rituals imposed by the Japanese government.
After Korea became independent following Japan's defeat in World War II, Hahm was heavily involved in the founding of Republic of Korea and expanding Christian institutions. Hahm's first position in the new government was the president of the audit committee. Rhee asked Hahm to be his running mate at the height of the Korean War and the two won the election. Hahm retired from public service and received Order of Merit for National Foundation. Hahm died of natural causes at the age of 92 and it was observed for 7 days in a type of state funeral. One of his sons Hahm Pyong-Choon later became a prominent South Korean politician and scholar.
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