The myth isn't just silly, it's destructive. Whatever brief boost the rewriting of history may provide for Iroquois self-esteem, it steals attention from the many real and persistent problems now facing the country's 1.4 million Native Americans--the Iroquois included."
In his introduction to "Debating Democracy: Native American Legacy of Freedom," Johansen said Bork's absolute denial "is but one of many examples of the subject's ability to rub raw nerves ... "
"The notion that American Indian political systems have contributed to our present-day notions of these (democratic) concepts has caused intense controversy," Johansen wrote. He said many in the academic world had staked everything on a belief that the Iroquois had nothing to do with the evolution of democracy in America.
Scholars who back the influence theory base their conclusions on the published and unpublished papers of Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, other historical documents, Iroquois oral histories and the Great Law. These researchers say that presents a plausible argument that the Iroquois influenced the ideological birth of the United States.