School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 9 Up-This document is unique in American history in that it was "the first organized law to set up a confederacy governed by democratic principles. It brought together independent nations into one political body governed by an organized group of representatives." It set up the manner in which sachems (rulers or chiefs) would be appointed and how they would lead the nations. It outlined provisions for treason, succession, and rights of both members and nonmembers. Prior to its acceptance, wars and feuds raged among the Iroquois nations for years. Under the leadership of two chiefs, Deganawida and Hiawatha, the tribes united to form a confederacy and warfare ended permanently. Favor relates events leading to the establishment of the Great Law of Peace, details the laws and guiding principles, and describes how the Iroquois constitution may have influenced the founders of the United States and their ideas for shaping the new democracy. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the Constitution. Black-and-white reproductions and other primary sources are interspersed throughout. It should be emphasized that this is not a ready-reference source for quick answers but rather a history that should be read from cover to cover for an understanding of an important and exciting part of American history. The full text of the Iroquois Constitution is appended.-Dana McDougald, Cedar Shoals High School, Athens, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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