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Literary and Social Club of Querétaro

by Lauren Gillentine

During the 18th century, when Mexico was still under the arms of the Spanish, there were groups of intellectuals that were forming literary clubs all over colonial Mexico. In the town of Querétaro, there was a literary club formed that would spark the independence movement in Mexico. When studying the Literary and Social club of Querétaro, one must look at the initial formation of the club, the activities that they were involved in and the events that were stemmed from the club.

One must look at the initial formation of the literary and social club of Querétaro to truly understand the club. There were literary clubs prevalent all over colonial Mexico in the early 19th century. There are many different groups all over the country that were there to study European literature. Prior to the formation of the club, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was looking to improve the conditions of the Mexican people. Being a priest, he continuously looked to improve the economic condition of his parishioners. Hidalgo also opened his house at night for local artists to study. Two more things that he did to help out was to educate people and listen to problems of the Indians and Mestizos. The club was originally formed for people to come together to study European literature. They also had discussion groups so that they continue to learn theology, ethics and philosophy. Members of the club included priests, the mayor and local military officers. At times, there were also Indians and Mestizos that were involved in this club. Although the club started as a literary club, it soon turned into a political club. When the Spanish government realized that the group was more of a political club than a literary club, the club was forced to go underground because they were being viewed as treasonous. That is the beginning of the formation of the literary and social club of Querétaro.

After knowing about the formation of the literary club, one can then look at the activities that they were involved in during the early 19th century. The members of the club often discussed political solutions to the problems that were arising in Mexico. Due to the lack of loyalty to the true King, the club was thinking of ways to take back Mexico from the Spanish oppressors. The literary club also helped to empower the criollos, or Mexican-born Spaniards. Hidalgo would open his house to intellectuals as well as to the Indians and Mestizos. The club members helped the people realize how much oppression they have been put through. The literary club also acted to conspire in the independence movement in Mexico. The members, especially Hidalgo and Captain Ignacio Allende, planned out the movement to the last detail. They set the date on which they wanted the revolution to begin and the people that they wanted needed in order to have a successful revolution. Now the intellectual comrades that originally formed the literary club and then transformed it to the political club were more of comrades in arms getting ready for the independence movement.

Now after looking at the formation of the club and the activities that they are involved in, one can now look at the events that were stemmed from the literary club. After the plans were all in place, the members of the literary club had to forward their liberal ideas to the people of Mexico. This group of liberal patriots believed that Mexico should be governed by criollos, or Mexican-born Spaniards and not by gachupines, or Native Spaniards. The idea of putting power back into the hands of the Mexican people was a good idea according to those people. The members of the literary club planned to overthrow the Spanish government that was currently in place. But in order to do that, the members had to collect and recruit enough people to fight for their independence. The plans of the literary club all came together during Hidalgo's call for freedom. His "Mexicanos, Viva Mexico" speech, Hidalgo called for the people to reclaim the land that had been taken from them so long ago. He also called for the end of the oppression that had been going on for a while. Thanks to the formation of the literary and social club of Querétaro, the actions that they took throughout the time of the club and the events that were brought about by the club, Mexico finally gained their independence. Now, every year on September 16th, Mexico celebrates their independence. They can look up to the heroes that originally formed the literary club and that eventually helped lead Mexico to their independence.

Bibliography

Jim Tuck. History of Mexico: Miguel Hidalgo-The Fatherwhot Fathered a Country. Retrieved on April 3, 2003. http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/history/jtuck/tjhidalgo.html.

Rachael Stevens. Mexican Independence. Retrieved April 3, 2003. http://www.geocities.com/rs_hum7/hour.htm.

9/16/1810. Retrieved April 3, 2003. http://www.decades.com/Search/SearchPost.asp.

Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo. Retrieved April 3, 2003. http://www.elbalero.gob.mx/kids/history/html/independ/biohidalgo.html.

The Story of Hidalgo's Call for Mexican Independence. Retrieved on April 3, 2003. http://www.mexonline.com/grito.htm.

HIDALGO Y COSTILLA, MIGUEL (1753-1811). Retrieved April 3, 2003. http://92.1911encyclopedia.org/H/HI/HIDALGO_Y_COSTILLA.htm.

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