What would scholars say who argue that the First Nations were influential in creating a founding constitution for the United States?A. Benjamin Franklin wrote to American colonists about his...

What would scholars say who argue that the First Nations were influential in creating a founding constitution for the United States?

A. Benjamin Franklin wrote to American colonists about his dissatisfaction with British rule and took an interest in First Nation's Laws.

B. The division of power between different levels of government has already been established within the Iroquois confederacy

C. Both "a" and "b"

D. Neither "a" or "b"

Asked on by josie422

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If you have a textbook or class reading that is guiding your answering of the question, I would refer to that as the first authority.  Your instructor might be expecting the answer that is there over anything else.  I would say that all of the answers feature a bit of limitation.  With this in mind, I think that the answer for B is probably the one I could most support.  Both A and B are very similar in terms of how the Native American political writings impacted Franklin and other founding fathers.  Yet, based on the contours of the answer prompts, I like B the most because of chronology.  We know that the French and Indian War took place between 1756 and 1763.  The colonists actively supported the British in this contest.  For his part, Franklin argued that support of the British and unity amongst all colonists would be critical.  It is for this that his "Join or Die" cartoon was written.  He aligned himself with the English and therefore would not have been supportive of the Native American cause at the time.  There is little to indicate that Franklin and the other framers were writing against the British rule during the French and Indian War as dissatisfaction with England began to percolate after it.  This rules out letter A, in my mind.  Along those lines would be the argument suggesting that Franklin already possessed an understanding of the Iroquois ways as early as 1744, when at the Treaty of Lancaster signing, Franklin was conscious of Native American political ideals:

Historians including Donald Grinde... have claimed that the democratic ideals of the Gayanashagowa provided a significant inspiration to Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and other framers of the United States Constitution. Franklin circulated copies of the proceedings of the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster among his fellow colonists; at the close of this document, the Iroquois leaders offer to impart instruction in their democratic methods of government to the English.


For this, I think that B is the best answer.

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