The Harvard Law Review and the Iroquois Influence Thesis

6 British Journal of American Legal Studies 225 (2017)

Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-26

17 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2016 Last revised: 28 Feb 2018

See all articles by Erik M. Jensen

Erik M. Jensen

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

In a recent Developments in the Law chapter on the Indian Civil Rights Act, authors and editors at the Harvard Law Review seemed to take seriously the so-called “Iroquois influence thesis,” the idea that basic principles of the American government were derived from American Indian nations, in particular the Iroquois Confederacy. Although the influence thesis has acquired a life of its own, being taught in some of America’s elementary and secondary schools, it is nonsense. (One of the sources cited in support of this made-up history is a congressional resolution, as if Congress has some special, historical expertise.) Nothing in American Indian law and policy should depend on the influence thesis, and it is unfortunate that a prominent law review has given it credence. This article explains how the Harvard folks were misguided and why the influence thesis should be interred.

Keywords: Iroquois influence thesis, Iroquois Great Law of Peace, Indian Civil Rights Act, Albany Congress, House Concurrent Resolution 331

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Erik M., The Harvard Law Review and the Iroquois Influence Thesis (2018). 6 British Journal of American Legal Studies 225 (2017); Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2816074

Erik M. Jensen (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-3613 (Phone)
216-368-2086 (Fax)

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