Re: The Iroquois and the Constitution

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Fri, 2 Feb 1996 09:36:36 -0500

On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, Jim Moore wrote:

> I was at a conference about 10 years ago -- which means I'm gonna
> get all the details wrong -- but actually apparently Ben Franklin
> was quite impressed by the Iroquois at some meeting where a treaty
> was worked out, and invited some down to the Continental Congress
> to explain their set-up.

I have Carl Van Doren's biography of Franklin in front of me. In the
thirteen or so pages discussing Franklin's involvement in the
Constitutional Convention (743-756), there are no mentions of Indians, no
references to Franklin suggesting an Iroquois model (indeed, Franklin was
in favor of "a single legislature, a plural executive, the non-payment of
officers" (p 745)). I suppose I will have to go look at Max Farrand,
Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, to make sure Van Doren didn't
leave anything out.

There is an awful lot of questionable history out there.