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#700228 - 07/05/11 08:27 PM Our Constitution and the Iroquois
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
I stumbled on Brian Cook's Iroquois Influence Thesis several months ago and had saved it on my desktop. It was a long read, but worth it. The first part presents the basis and conclusions of several historians that this Native government did play a role in the drafting of our Constitution. The thesis continues with the opposing arguments presenting discrepancies and assumptions.

I don't know the details of other federalist systems from the 16th and 17th centuries, such as the Dutch and the Swiss, but our Founding Fathers most certainly did. I can understand the Iroquois influence being downplayed and not specifically addressed in the historical record. I think it safe to say most Colonists didn't consider the Indians when pondering equality among men.

There certainly are many parallels to consider.
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#700497 - 07/07/11 06:00 AM Re: Our Constitution and the Iroquois [Re: Jane - Native American]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 17642
Loc: Reno, NV
The people of Iroquois confederacy had a tremendous impact and influence on American history because of their political organization which was extremely advanced for that era. The US Calvary had meetings with Iroquois leaders to help them (US Calvary) in strategic battle plans and warfare. I found this out a few years ago when researching for an article. You are right, Jane, about the influence of the Iroquois being downplayed in American historical records.

In drafting the laws of this country I also agree with you that "I think it safe to say most Colonists didn't consider the Indians when pondering equality among men."

I would love to read Brian Cook's thesis.
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#700545 - 07/07/11 02:38 PM Re: Our Constitution and the Iroquois [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
There's a link to Brian Cook's thesis at the bottom of the article. The first half was an enjoyable read, which presented the evidence for the Influence theory. In the second half, Mr. Cook presents the opposing argument. Disagreement with the Influence theory isn't based soley on denial of any influence the Iroquois Confederation may have had. Rather, it addresses assumptions and discrepancies in the research of those who promote the theory.

Those who oppose question the research for its basis and assumptions made from historical documents. They question whether there is sufficient proof the Iroquois had any more or less influence than other forms of government these leaders would have known of.

It's a tricky thing. How can one document "influence?" Unless it is clearly stated and recorded, knowledge and experience can influence our actions when we don't even realize it's happening.

It sure would be nice to have a conversation with these great men of the past. They were so careful with their written and spoken words, by necessity. THEY were establishing the Freedom of Speech we take for granted each day. There is no way for us to know what was truly in their minds and hearts, especially on a subconscious level without them realizing and sharing it.

It doesn't bother me that the methodology used for the Influence Theory is questioned and ripped apart. Assumptions are a necessary part of any theory, but statements can't be removed from context and facts must be verified. What bothers me is the strong rebuttal of any possible influence. Possibilities have to be addressed. They simply cannot be ruled out in the light of documented contact with the Iroquois and the many similarities which found their way into our Constitution.
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