Re: The Iroquois and the Early Radical Feminists

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Wed, 31 Jan 1996 20:12:13 -0500

On Wed, 31 Jan 1996, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Seth, it seems to be a fact that the organization of the League of the
>Iroquois inspired Benjamin Franklin's ideas about states' rights. Also,
>witnessing the egalitarian way of Iroquois life, it seems to me, would >
>make more of an impression than any literature on the subject. Ruby

So far, it has been established that the League inspired Franklin only
insofar as it provided metaphors against which to argue for colonial
union: "If Six Nations ... why can't thirteen colonies..." It has not been
established that Franklin witnessed "the egalitarian way of Iroquois
life," for, except for being a delegate to councils with the Six Nations
chiefs, and printing the texts of the resultant treaties, there is no
evidence that he spent any time among the Hodenausaunee.

On the other hand, the fact remains that until Morgan, knowledge of how
the League, and each individual nation, worked--as opposed to received
wisdom, i.e. folklore--is absent from American literature, biographic,
ethnographic, political, or otherwise. For sure there are hints--see
Colden 1727, 1747--but nothing like the depth of analysis of Morgan: that
is why Morgan is so important.

If anyone has specific citations to Franklin spending quality
time with the Hodenausaunee, I would be interested in knowing of them.