3 Ways The Iroquois Confederacy Influenced The U.S

Further ReadingThe 6 Nations of The Iroquois Confederacy

The Iroquois Confederacy heavily influenced the development of the United States in 3 major ways. From the mid 17th century the British Colonists would trade on the Hudson river with the Iroquois Confederacy. It was not uncommon to see bands of Mohawk warriors escorting canoes of goods to be sold at the markets of New England.

There are 3 ways in which the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the early development of the United States. First, the Iroquois Confederacy had 3 branches of government with checks and balances. Second, the Iroquois Confederacy created a model for the U.S Articles of Confederation. Third, the Iroquois Confederacy built a government that allowed rapid expansion which the U.S drew inspiration from.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways the Iroquois Confederacy Influenced The U.S.

The Iroquois Confederacy Had 3 Branches of Government With Checks And Balances

One of the main ways in which the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the development of the United States was by having a 3 branch system of government with built in checks and balances.

The first branch of the Iroquois Confederacy was the elective chiefs which served for a life term. These chiefs would be elected from each individual clan within the 6 nations. After this the chiefs would be trained from an early age on how to effectively govern.

The chiefs would then be housed at the Great Council where they would judge upon legislation and actions in the name of their clan. As a rule each chief was allowed to speak his mind and all the other chiefs had to listen. Once the chiefs came up with a piece of legislation it would be sent back to their clan to vote.

The second branch of government was the legislative. In order for a law to be passed in the Iroquois Confederacy it needed to be voted into law. 75% of the men and 75% of the women would have to vote the legislation into law. After this a law could only be repealed if it received 75% of the votes of the Women in the clans. Further, in order to alter the confederacy itself it required a double supermajority vote.

This created a grid iron system of checks and balances. However, what would happen if the chiefs abused their power? Then the third branch would remove them.

The third branch of the Iroquois Confederacy was a judicial branch. The mothers of each clan could dispose of the chief if they abused their power. This was done through a ritual ceremony called “knocking off the horns” where the mother of the clan would remove the deer antlers on the chief’s headdress which signified leadership.

As we can see the Iroquois Confederacy had a system of government that is similar to the modern United States. The Iroquois Confederacy is between 300-600 years older than the United States.

As such this remains one of the main ways that the Iroquois Confederacy Influenced the U.S.

The Iroquois Confederacy Created A Model For The Articles Of Confederation

After the Declaration of Independence was signed the first form of government for the United States was built around the Articles of Confederation.

The Articles of Confederation built a loose confederation out of the 13 individual states. These states were responsible for regulating their own borders along with economic trade.

They would jointly come together to vote upon legislation that would allow their citizens to cast their vote in favor or against.

Further, the Articles of Confederation made it so that when dealing with international powers the United States had to seek the approval of all of the states.

This was the exact same thing as the Iroquois Confederacy. Each nation within the Iroquois Confederacy held power over its own people and borders. It would regulate trade within its borders and send delegates (chiefs) to represent them in congress (Grand Council).

However, much like the Articles of Confederation the Iroquois Confederacy also shared similar problems. Namely trying to convince the nations to act in unison for self preservation.

During the Revolutionary War the Iroquois Nations would fight for both the British as well as the Colonists. Historians have reported that this fragmented the Iroquois Confederacy.

The same thing happened with the Articles of Confederation. It became too hard to convince the 13 states to adopt laws or fund congress. As such the U.S constitution was created.

As we can see the Iroquois Confederacy created a model for the development for the U.S’s first form of government under the Articles of Confederation.

The Iroquois Confederacy Built A Government Which Allowed For Rapid Expansion

One of the main ways in which the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the development of the U.S was by creating a model government which allowed for rapid expansion.

The best thing about the Iroquois Confederacy was that it could easily add more tribes and land to its territory. A prime example of this came in 1722 when the Iroquois Confederacy included a 6th nation, the Tuscarora.

Further, when the Mohawk pushed the Mahican past the Hudson River in the 17th century it became easy to extend the territory of the Iroquois Confederacy.

This heavily influenced the development of the United States. In both the Articles of Confederation and the U.S Constitution there were precedents put in place to easily add more states and territories to the Union.

Most historians agree that the ability to extend territory and lands was the only thing the Articles of Confederation got right. More than likely this was because of the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy.

As such one of the main ways in which the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the U.S was by building a model government where adding new lands and people was easy and already built into the government.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article dedicated to the 3 ways the Iroquois Confederacy Influenced The U.S.

Iroquois history remains an amazing subject of research. Almost on a yearly basis new articles are coming out to help piece together the history of these people. Examples of this can be seen in the recently rewritten historical account of the foundation of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the web.

Further, you can check out some of the other articles below.

Sincerely,

Nick