League and US

Thu, 14 Sep 1995 08:39:36 EWT

Ruby Rohrloch made the comment that "the political structure of the
League of the Iroquois is said to have provided the basis for the U.S. state
system." The operative
phrase in this is: "... is said..." for there is
no convincing evidence that any Anglo-American alive in theeighteenth
century, except perhaps Sir William Johnson, had any valid idea about
how the League worked, except that it sometimes did
. The various efforts
on the part of some revisionists to claim that the Consitution is based on
the League have yet to demonstrate that basic fact. If indeed Franklin,
Madison, Jefferson, and the rest really understood the League, then how
come that knowledge was lost for a two generations until Lewis Henry Morgan
discovered it again? It is one thing to say that by its very existence the
League influenced the history of United States-- a magnet will influence
a pile of iron filings-- it is another to say that the USian political
structure is based on that of the Iroquois.
[ps Ruby's comment is an interesting variation on the usual assertion about
the influence, that it was in the sepatation of powers]