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Franklin on Elder Wisdom as Indian Model of Leadership

[According to Benjamin] Franklin, the order and decorum of Indian councils were important to them because their government relied on public opinion:

‘All their Government is by Counsel of the Sages; there is no Force, there are no Prisons, no officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.’

Indian leaders study oratory and the best speaker had the most influence, Franklin observed. In words that would be echoed by Jefferson, Franklin used the Indian model as an exemplar of government with a minimum of governance. This sort of democracy was governed not by fiat, but by public opinion and consensus-creating custom:

‘All of the Indians of North America NOT under the dominion of the Spaniards are in that natural state, being restrained by no laws, having no Courts, or Ministers of Justice, no Suits, no Prisons, no Governors vested with any Legal Authority. The Persuasion of Men distinguished by Reputation of Wisdom is the only means by which others are govern'd or rather led -- and the State of the Indians was probably the first State of all Nations.’

Excerpt from:
http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/FFchp5.html

FORGOTTEN FOUNDERS: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois and the Rationale for the American Revolution (1982) By Bruce E. Johansen

You can read the book online here for free:
http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/FF.html#TOC



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Yes, there was an entire society of European people

that truly appreciated the natural leadership which was created by the matriarchal structure of opinion based in the wisdom of families, clans and tribes.

A figure of history from that time, Sir William Johnson,, known also by his tribal name, Iroquois I think, Warrigiahey, meaning, "He who does much", was one the few Euopeans that understood the indigenous people well and respected them. It was probably Johnson that brought Franklin, Washington and Jefferson to understand the Six Nations confederacy.

It was an Iroquois chief, Casanatengo(?) who broke the single arrow to show weak one state was against the English King. Then demonstrated how strong a confederacy was by bundling 13 arrows together and then failed to break any. This demonstration convinced Franklin who was a tireless supporter of the confederation from that point forward.

Can we stop doing all the things we are doing that we do not want to do while still doing what we need to do?

Asclepius's picture

Facinating history!

Thanks...I will have to look that up...

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley

Here is another piece of history that you cannot look

up but will likely see as true. It is natural law relating to complex social aspects of the purpose of free speech.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are only 30% of a much larger doctrine called "the greater meaning of free speech." It refers to the understandings which can be gained from free speech and in turn create; foregiveness, tolerance, acceptance, respect, trust, friendship and love protecting life, liberty and the pursuit if happiness.

It provides for the people and leadership an example of what speech is publicly supported. All speech is free.

Competition for inclusion in the Declaration of Independence kept it out all the way through the bill of rights. Letters between framers and notables which mentioned the doctrine were removed from history to be perhaps re written as forgeries and found in an attic 100 + years later.

Can we stop doing all the things we are doing that we do not want to do while still doing what we need to do?

Asclepius's picture

Importantly, American Indians were not Patriarchal

While it is true that the Chief and the Counsel of Elders were all male, it was the women who decided which men held these positions and could remove them if they didn't properly fulfill their jobs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley

Asclepius's picture

Thanks for the link!

That looks like a great resource of information.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley

thank you--

bump--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

The Indians had no MSM

to tell them what their consensus was.

Or who they voted for as the best orator.

Asclepius's picture

The irony is that Franklin created the printing press and he

used it to counter the British press who wanted to mischaracterize the Indian's as ruthless savages as opposed to the more accurate "Noble Savage" characterization that helped ignite the Enlightenment.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley