The Debate on the Iroquois’ Influence on the U.S. Constitution

The creation of the U.S. Constitution was considered revolutionary and unprecedented for the 18th century. The Founding Fathers have been cited to pull inspiration from ancient Greeks and prior European thought, however, the influence stopped there. Counter to the colonial mindset conscious, recent scholars have sought to prove that the Iroquois influenced the creation of the U.S. government by namely comparing their Great Law of Peace to the Constitution. Other historians refute that assertion. This lesson asks students to not simply argue whether or not the Iroquois influenced the Founding Fathers, but rather why would someone choose to refute or confirm the influence? This serves as a gateway to a discussion on historical trauma by illuminating how Americans have denied, discredited, or even erased the contributions of indigenous nations to the United States.

School name: 

MS 839

School district: 

District 15 in NYC DOE, New York


New York

Grade Level: 


Subject Area Focus: 

English Language Arts
Social Studies/History

Estimated days to complete: 

2 days

Creator Name: 

John Ingram