The Impact of the Iroquois Confederacy on the Creation of the United States Government

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"One arrow is easily broken, but tied together, no man can break the bundle."
-Peacemaker

This philosophy was at the core of the powerful Iroquois League of Five Nations. The League of Five Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy as it is more commonly called, was a thriving and well-functioning form of government very similar to that of the United States Government. Hundreds of years before "civilized" man arrived in the New World -- historians think as early as 1400 A.D.-- the Iroquois had created a radically new and well-organized form of government unlike any other before it. This new form of government was the idea of two peaceful men named Hiawatha and Deganawida (McClard 47). Hiawatha and Deganawida realized that the five Iroquois
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They even created their own form of constitution. Still, the English colonies sent reports back home about a group of "savages" who had joined together and created one large nation with rules unheard of in "proper society" (McClard 112). The English were intrigued by the Iroquois' strange way of life and government, and assumed that Indians naturally lived together in harmony with one another (McClard 120). Later, in the 18th century when the colonies had initially proposed a separation from England, many of the founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, visited the Iroquois people to observe their government. They concluded that many of the aspects of the Iroquois government could be borrowed and changed slightly when creating the United States government (McClard 113). In this way, the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the structure and founding of the United States government greatly, and the laws that all U.S. citizens live under today.

In order to fully understand how the Iroquois government influenced the United States' founding fathers, the principles and complex government structure that made up the Iroquois Confederacy must first be understood. The Iroquois Confederacy was thought of as an "extended lodge" (Graymont, 32), or longhouse, the type of dwelling the Iroquois lived in. Figuratively, the idea of an "extended lodge" bound all the tribes of the Iroquois into one family, just as a

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