Disclaimer: The author does not claim to be an expert in the field, but the article is based on credible sources.
The American Constitution which protects the rights and liberties of the citizens of the United States was not exactly written by the founding fathers of the country. Native American forms of governance influenced the founders who established the United States Constitution, founded on their democratic values.
There were no modern democracies in Europe to draw inspiration from when the participants of the Constitutional Convention gathered in 1787 to consider what type of government the United States should have. Native American nations possessed the most democratic systems of governance that any of the convention members had directly experienced.
The Iroquois Constitution, also known as the Great Law of Peace, is an excellent oral tale that records the founding of a League of Six Nations, comprised of the Cayuga, Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Seneca, and, eventually, the Tuscarora nations. The exact date of origin is disputed, however, it was much before the arrival of European settlers in America.
The Iroquois Confederacy dates back several centuries, to when the Great Peacemaker established it by combining five nations: the Mohawks, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, and Seneca. Around 1722, the Tuscarora nation joined the Iroquois, commonly known as the Haudenosaunee. These six nations joined forces to establish a multi-state government while retaining their own sovereignty.
Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers had regular contact with the Iroquois Confederacy, and Great Council representatives were invited to address the Continental Congress in 1776.
The constitution featured several well-known concepts:
- A prohibition against holding two posts at the same time.
- Processes for removing leaders from the confederacy.
- A parliamentary system with mechanisms in place for passing laws
- A definition of who has the authority to declare war.
- According to subsequent transcriptions, a power equilibrium was established between the Iroquois Confederacy and various tribes.
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