The Iroquois And The US Constitution Essay

The Iroquois And The U.S Constitution Essay, Research Paper

Nothing is so fundamental yet so important to the freedoms we enjoy as Americans as the United States Constitution, which guarantees our right to do and say as we please so long as it does no harm. The Iroquois Federation preamble describes the purpose of the government set up by the government in their statements the emphasis is placed on perfect peace for the welfare of the people. Their focus was fighting for, the liberty of the people.

Among the Indian nations whose ancient seats were within the limits of our republic, the Iroquois have long continued to occupy the most conspicuous position. The Iroquois flourished in independence, and capable of self protection, long after the new England and Virginia races had surrendered their jurisdictions, and fallen into the condition of dependent. Nations they now stand forth upon the canvas of Indian history prominent alike for the wisdom of their civil institutions of the league.

Only the Iroquois had a system that seemed to meet most of the demands espoused by the many parties to the debates the Iroquois certainly have a considered the influence on the drafty of our own constitution, and we present day Americans owe them a very large debt.

At the time of the founding of Iroquois League of nation, we have only the early stories, which was passed down from generation until such time as a written language existed. We only have stories that were passed down form generation to generation until such time as there was a written language and interprets available to record that early history.

Early explores and colonist found the Iroquois well establish as they had been for many generations with a democratic government, with a form at religion that acknowledged a creator in heaven; with a strong sense of family which was used on, and controlled by their women.

In 1744 an Iroquois leader, Canassatege, had an idea. In presenting the idea to his assembly, he realized that no one was listening to what he had to say. He suggested that they should form an umbrella group that consisted of thirteen colonies. The thirteen colonies were derived from the thirteen cousins of the Iroquois people.

He mentioned each colony could keep his authority and the thirteen colonies could speak to each with one voice. Many years later the United States family developed this idea the constitution. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. it was written by the continental congress. Every citizen and non-citizens right are guaranteed by the constitution. The constitution can be changed and these changes are called Amendments. The first ten are called the Bill of Rights. There are twenty-six changes to the constitution. By comparing the Iroquois federation to the federalist and anti-federalist positions one will see that there are many similarities as well as the difference among the three. The similarities between the Iroquois an the federalist allows me to believe that the Iroquois were the ones responsible for the shaping this great nation, America.

The Adoption of the Constitution

Washington was unanimously chosen president and a secretary was appointed. A few days’ later rules of procedure were adopted. It was determined that each state should have one vote in the convention. As was the case in the Virginians, who had arrived in advance of most of the delegations met frequently in informal caucus and drafted series of resolutions, largely the work of Madison, which was presented to the convention on by Governor Randolph.

The Virginian plan, resolutions are called, provided for a division of the central government into three departments, legislative, executive and judicial. The Virginian plan may be called the large state plan. it proposed exchanges in the structure and character of the federal government so sweeping that they could scarcely be regarded merely as a serious of amendments of the articles of confederation.

Professor Max Farrand, (the editor of the records of the federal convention) has compiled from the writings of the members of the convention. Prior to its meeting, a list of what they regarded as the defects of the Articles of Confederation. His opinion was based on a detailed knowledge of the proceedings of the convention is that there is little of importance in the constitution that did not arise from the effort to correct these specific defects.

The truth is, that the great principles of the constitution proposed by the convention may be considered less as a absolutely now, than as the expansion of principles which are found in the articles of Confederation. If the new constitution, be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it propose consists much less in the addition of New powers to the union, than in the invigoration of it’s original powers.

Legacy of the Iroquois Revolution

The Indians decided to negotiate a treaty at fort stanwit. This new treaty seemed necessary since Great Britain had made no terms for her Indian allies in the peace of Paris. They had promised the Mohawks mush for their aid in the war; it seemed clear that Iroquois interests had been abandoned.

In deciding the fate of the Mohawks and other pro-British Iroquois, the British had played a key role. For a time, the Mohawks remained on the American side of the Niagara River, and the Senecas offered them land in the Genesse valley. However, Brant and his followers had no desire, to remain in New York. Subsequently, Governor Haldimald consented to purchase a tract of land at the Bay of Quite for Brant and his people. But the sencas wanted Brant’s people closer, so Halmond secured a 1200-square mile tract on the Grand River Reserve, some refused to move often they had settled at the Bay of Quinte.

The Iroquois were said to be the most powerful people in the eastern woodlands. Some scholars wrote that the Iroquois may have originating as early as 1390 Ad, other said that they came between 1450-1500 Ad, it was very difficult to tell because during that time no language was written and any information collected were passed down from generation to generation.

The Iroquois were still a strong and independent people at the end of the American Revolution. However, the consequent peace was to create even more devastation then the war had done. Land was taken indiscriminately from former allies such as the Onedas and Tuscaroras, as well as from the tribes that had supported the British.

It is interesting that the ideas of the Iroquois confederacy serve as examples both far the democratic societies as well as for the communist both of the world’s major ideology seem to attempting to recapture, through theories and various institution, the spirit of the Iroquois confederacy. America tries to gain liberty through political institutions, while the communist countries are trying to accomplish their goal through state planning and national control of the forces of production as well as the land and resources.

Thus, the values of the Iroquois Confederacy lived on today, and these same concepts have appalled reflection in American institutions also. The United States constitution would subvert the Articles of Confederation in order to give the state more power, but the Bill of Rights that Jefferson and others insisted upon represent the survival of political freedom and unity through discussion and consensus. Moreover, the legacy of Hiawatha and Degonawidah survives among the Iroquois and in the heritage of the American people.

The Iroquois federation can be compared to the federalist position because they’re very similar with the exception of the one thing. The Iroquois were divided into five nations: the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, and the Cayuga. Each nation had its own ruling council. The Mohawks Lords were the heads and the leaders of the five nation’s Confederacy. The Mohawk Lords were also the substratum of the Great Peace. In terms of their checks and balances system, the Iroquois people designed a system where no one in their government will hold too much power.

The Mohawk Council was divided into three parties to ensure that each of their powers were not abused or taken advantage of by any of the members. The first party was Ayonhwhatah and Shadekaeiwade, the second party was Sharenhowaneh and Deyoenhegwenh and the third party consist of Dehennakrineh, Aghstawenserethah and Shoskoharowaneh. The responsibility of the third party was to listen to the decisions of the first and second party. If for some reasons there are errors within the decision the case will then be taken to the Seneca Lord.

Each Iroquois nation ran its internal affairs with a council of elected delegates. They also sent their delegates to a grand council, and they ran affairs among nations. This was a pure federalist system. Unlike the Federalist, the Iroquois had one legislative system.

Being the scholarly people the Iroquois were, enabled them to handle their issues in a unique manner. A case of utmost importance prompted the gathering of the associate assembly underneath the “Tree of Long Leaves.”

Women played a very important part in the Iroquois life. When a man of Iroquois descent married a woman, he would move in with his wife and her family. Women owned all the property in the long house, and they were in charge of planting and harvesting. Even though these women had their household chores to perform, they were held in high regards by the men. Iroquois women had political power; they were responsible for choosing the men that served on the council. Iroquois women had a lot of liberty. The power the Iroquois women held enabled them to impeach. Only a woman was able to replace an impeached leader.

Basically, the formation of the United States was influenced by Iroquois political and philosophical traditions. The ideas of freedom and equality stimulated and then transformed and transplanted. Europeans, who came to American soil, were receptive to such concepts because they had in one way or another repudiated to a degree, the values of the mother country. Military Iroquois made a contribution to the formation of the Untied States. Although divided on the issue of American independence, their strategies about frontier fighting shaped the mind of the youthful, as well as the mature, George Washington.

Even after the revolution the Iroquois continued to play a key role in forming of the political institution of America as well as the world. The ideals of the Iroquois Confederacy serve as cornerstone for democratic societies and as an inspiration to the peoples of the world. In a very real sense, the legacy of the Revolution was (and is) a negative one for the Iroquois.

Deprived of their land divided on distant reservations in Canada and the United States, the Iroquois had little to rejoice about in the founding of the United States. The tribal autonomy and the following of the old ways were to be frowned upon by a new government. if there was a promise of freedom for the Indians during the American revolution, n it was quickly discarded for quick land acquisitions on order to serve the interests of the restless white frontiersmen.

Working the legal structures of the United States as well as through demonstrative activities, the Iroquois nations are trying to regain some of their land and protest their rights. They are people with tremendous sense of endurance and inner strength. Their persistence as a viable and cohesive culture is a monument to human values that have meaning in spite of persecution and defeat, by a military strong culture. The league of the Iroquois lives on a testimony to freedom, for all that care to examine it. Its spirit endures as a vision and a good for betterment of mankind.


? Lathom, Earl: The Declaration of Independence and the constitution. Revised Edition- Copyright 1956


? Guide Jr., Donald A: The Iroquois and the founding of the American Nation. Copyright 1977

? Morgan, Henry Lewis: League of the Iroquois

? The American Journey

? Lathom, Earl: The Declaration of Independence and the constitution. Revised Edition- Copyright 1956


? Guide Jr., Donald A: The Iroquois and the founding of the American Nation. Copyright 1977

? Morgan, Henry Lewis: League of the Iroquois

? The American Journey


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