Great Law of Peace


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Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee) Six Nations is the oral constitution that created the Iroquois Confederacy. The law was developed by a Huron man known as The Great Peacemaker and his spokesman Hiawatha.

The Iroquois Confederacy was once thought to have started in the 1500s, but more recent estimates date the Confederacy, and its constitution between 1090 and 1150 A.D. These estimates were based on the records of the Confederacy leadership and astronomical dating related to the lunar eclipse that coincided with the founding of the Confederacy (Mann, 332).

According to some researchers, history professor Dr. Donald A. Grinde in particular, the Gayanashagowa is said to have provided significant inspiration to Benjamin Franklin and James Madison in the writing of the United States Constitution.

"It would be a strange thing if six nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such a union and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears insoluble; and yet that a like union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies.: - Benjamin Franklin, "Lies My Teacher Told Me", James W. Loewen pg. 111


Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

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The Constitution Of The Iroquois Nations

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