The REAL Inspiration for the American Constitution

The Forgotten Source for Separation of Powers

The United States Constitution was an inspired document. The authors were brilliant, and the Founding Fathers who wrote it geniuses.

But they didn’t pull their inspiration out of thin air …

For example, one of the core principles which the Founding Fathers built into the American system of government and our Constitutions is separation of powers.

This idea – also called “checks and balances” – ensures that no single person or group can seize all of the powers for themselves. Decisions are therefore more likely to benefit the nation as a whole … and not just those making decisions.

As Lord Acton noted:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

By spreading power around, absolute corruption is less likely to occur.

But few people know where the Founding Fathers’ got their inspiration for the principle of separation of powers.

The New York Times noted in 1988:

In the mid-16th century, five northeastern Indian tribes – Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida and Cayugaa – formed the Iroquois Confederacy, joined later by the Tuscarora tribe. They adopted a constitution, reflecting concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers that impressed such later Americans as Washington, Franklin and other Founding Fathers. Indeed, historians maintain that many principles of the Iroquois constitution were woven into the United States Constitution.

That same year, Congress passed a resolution stating:

Whereas, the original framers of the constitution, including most notably, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, are known to have greatly admired the concepts, principles and government practices of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy; and

Whereas, the Confederation of the original thirteen colonies into one Republic was explicitly modeled upon the Iroquois Confederacy as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the Constitution itself ….

The Congress, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, acknowledges the historical debt which this Republic of the United States of America owes to the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indian Nations for their demonstration of enlightened, democratic principles of government ….

And see this.

Thomas Jefferson also had close dealings with the Iroquois:

Prominent figures, such as Thomas Jefferson in colonial Virginia … were involved with leaders of the New York-based Iroquois Confederacy.

One of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention – John Rutledge of South Carolina – read lengthy tracts from the Iroquois Constitution to the other framers, beginning with the words “We, the people, to form a union, to establish peace, equity, and order ….”

America Must Re-Establish Separation of Powers

America has lost the separation of powers in our government.

The federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people. For example, former head S&L prosecutor Bill Black – now a professor of law and economics – notes:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both] competed to weaken federal regulation and aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders.

And the courts have been stripped of their ability to review the illegal actions of the other branches of government.

America must re-establish the principle of separation of powers … or we will slide into tyranny.

Postscript: The Iroquois Constitution also contained the following rule:

In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.

Americans would be wise to adopt this type of long-range thinking.

Note: Admittedly, Aristotle, Calvin, Montesquieu and other Western thinkers also discussed separation of powers.

But America’s Founding Fathers were most directly inspired by visiting the Iroquois, reading their Constitution, and watching their government in action. After all, seeing a principle actually working in practice in the real world is much more inspirational than reading theories or debating ancient history.

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  • ClubToTheHead

    Separation of powers must be why the Indian genocide was so urgently pursued. And why the Constitution marginalized democratic influence over the Chamber of Commerce that found the Articles of Confederation so abhorrent, and then so treasonously conspired to exceed the authority for which this convention was called under the authority of the Articles of Confederation.

    If a democracy elects a monarch without term limits, is it still a democracy? If a democracy establishes perpetual institutions unaccountable to the people, is it still a democracy?

    If the perpetual institutions so established by a democracy exercise more power over the people and the government elected by the people than the government exercises over the institutions, does this system remain a democracy?

    The spy agencies now exercise oversight over the government, instead of the government exercising oversight over the spy agencies. The spy agencies that government is supposed to exercise oversight over must now be subject to security clearances given by the spy agencies.

    Can this still be called a democracy?

    • CB1138

      It never was called a democracy. It was a republic, and still is in form.

      • ClubToTheHead

        It’s ALWAYS called a democracy, even though it never was. There is even a party that calls itself the Democratic Party. What a joke. Its not even a republic. Once again, wishful thinking.

        People who call it a democracy, or a republic, are really simple minded Pollyannas.

        I never said it was a democracy. I’m glad you figured out for yourself that its not. When enough people stop calling it a democracy, maybe they can then ask why the people aren’t allowed to have some say in this union of an oligarchy and a tyranny of unelected institutions.

        • CB1138

          So somebody did hit you with a club to the head.

          • ClubToTheHead

            Go back to sleep. The American Dream awaits you.

          • CB1138

            Read Federalist #10!

          • ClubToTheHead

            Read all of the Federalist Papers, and the Anti-Federalist Papers too.

            Number 10 is for beginners whose curiosity is not sufficient to maintain interest.

            Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Articles of Confederation too.

          • CB1138

            Read all those. I’ll do you one better: Read Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Cause it says at Vol. 1 sec 311: “It is a federal compact. Several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by perpetual confederation, without each ceasing to be a perfect state. They will together form a federal republic.”

          • ClubToTheHead

            This is hilarious.

            I say you can’t call this a democracy and you say this is not a democracy.

            I can’t get excited about this inconsequential difference.

            Neither one of us says this is a democracy, so where is this going?

            Bye now.

          • Guest

            You are a mentally ill person!

          • CB1138

            Did you open a fresh can of crazy just for me?

  • jadan

    The genocide did not eradicate the knowledge of Indian cultural achievements, even though that was the goal of white European cultural imperialism. The fiercely individualistic Indians who nonetheless developed this very sophisticated cooperative framework, were likely also an inspiration for Jefferson’s conceptions of “unalienable rights”. Indians were contemptuous of the white’s dependency on preachers and a religious book, as when Chief Blackhawk boasted that no Indian would fail to keep his own council and make his own decisions. The Indians had no police and no capital punishment and no chain of command to enforce domination of leaders over followers. They enjoyed a democracy unknown to the Europeans, then, and now.

  • Never forget this 2008 article:

    Cheney: Obama Will “Appreciate” Our Expansion Of Power


    Posted: 01/15/2009 5:12 am EST Updated: 05/25/2011 12:55 pm EDT

    In an interview with Rush Limbaugh (via Politico), Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that the next president will appreciate the way he and George Bush expanded executive power.

  • Eol Awki

    What the framers of the US Constitution did not anticipate (or perhaps they did and covertly built it into the system) was was what today is known in security circles as a back-door, a way to get around normal system protections when deemed necessary. This back-door was the built-in ability of money to corrupt the entire system. Indeed, the Constitution was framed with the power of property owners clearly in mind, a concept which while diluted in later years with the voting rights of the un-propertied masses (women, minorities, etc), yet reached its zenith with the Citizen’s United ruling of an already corrupted Supreme Court. The power of money in politics has rendered ‘democracy’ an unprincipled farce, as the corrosive power of money infects all areas of democratic institutions at local, state and federal levels.

    The term, “The Best Democracy money can buy” comes to mind.

    As the recent Princeton study has clearly shown, America’s democratic system is now overseen by a relatively small core of individuals and corporations in the form of an oligarchy.

    As the power of money further corrodes the established institutions, it will result in a destruction of the middle class that built America, a growing tendency towards a police state, both locally and nationally, a clear and unmissable erosion of civil rights (in the name of fighting terrorism and crime, of course), and an increasingly aggressive militarism throughout the world.

    Whilst the American system was once (rightly or wrongly) considered the ‘light on the hill’ by the world, it is fast becoming the ‘Darkness” spreading itself over the world now.

    And nothing is likely to stop its degeneration as a New World Order arises to replace it – a world order that might well cast the world into a permanent feudal economy ruled over by international bankers and mega-corporate powers.

  • Notfooledbybs

    What a steaming triple coiled pile of BS!

    The Founding Fathers adopted nothing from the Indians, they considered the Indians to be savages. It states that right in the Declaration of Independence. I quote was follows:

    QUOTE :”(King George) has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” END QUOTE

    You have fallen for a modern day pile of PC nonsense.

    • Doctorbob F

      Was this “quote” in regards to a certain tribe (or tribes) of Indians whom the King endeavoured to use, or did the Founding Fathers mean to comment on the character of all (i.e. each and every) Native American?

  • TimeToWakeUpAmerica

    “For example, one of the core principles which the Founding Fathers built into the American system of government and our Constitutions is separation of powers.

    This idea – also called ‘checks and balances’ – ensures that no single person or group can seize all of the powers for themselves. Decisions are therefore more likely to benefit the nation as a whole …
    and not just those making decisions.”

    Unless those making the decisions BUY the U.S. government, by controlling the currency of the nation. Then, the “separation” of powers, means NOTHING.

    • TimeToWakeUpAmerica


      Read ALL the comments, click on ALL links, read, view, listen to ALL content. MILITARIZED POLICE-STATE FASCISM, is the “civil” enforcement arm of the Central BANKER/”EU” Royal & Oligarch TECHNOCRACY.

  • Harlan County

    As sort of a take off on the next seven generations thinking, I proposed a while back “A dogs life doctrine”.
    Here is how it works when a president wants to send troops anywhere for any kind of warfare he must first acquire a pup from the local animal shelter, if on the day that that dog dies hopefully of old age, the problem that seemed so important years before still exists, then and only then may the president send troops. As a footnote I know only congress can declare war and it has not done that since WWII.
    And if we are attacked, well then wake up congress and have them declare war.