INDIAN INFLUENCES ON JEFFERSON
> This page is called Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Govt. > If you could please help me. I am trying to find the Iroquois Indian > treaty that has the lines..we the people... in it. Jefferson used this > document for the Decloration. This web site is the closest I have gotten > to finding this. Another problem is this library in our town only > services 5000 people. > Thank you for your time and effort. I am afraid I won't be able to help you much. I do not have much information on the Iroquois Indians and their confederation. I do not believe, however, that their treaty amongst themselves was a basis for the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson never suggested that in any of his letters. In fact, in a letter to Henry Lee, dated May 8, 1825, he describes the sources for the ideas in the Declaration of Independence. In this letter (the entire one and on-half page letter is in the Library of America volume of Jefferson's Writings, pg. 1500), he wrote: "This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c." As you can see from the above, there is no reference to any confederation of Indians as a source for the Declaration.
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