The editorial “Thou Mayest” (March 6) harks back to the drafting of the Constitution and earlier.
Benjamin Franklin brought it to the writing of the Constitution creating our “federal” government. But his argument came from the six-nation Iroquois Confederation in New York state. He said:
“It would be a very strange Thing, if six Nations of ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such a Union, and be able to execute it in such a Manner, as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like Union should be impracticable for ten or a Dozen English Colonies, to whom it is more necessary, and must be more advantageous; and who cannot be supposed to want an equal Understanding of their Interests.”
The six nations met regularly, hosted by the Onondaga in the Syracuse, NY, region. There was a sachem, a chief of chiefs, who moderated sessions, resolving any differences that may have arisen between nations. (I was acquainted with Onondaga chiefs and leaders when I worked nearby. They continue the cooperation among the nations.)
So, the U.S. became a federation. That was calculated to resolve differences among the colonies so they could become states of the Union.
Almost from the beginning, we have seen bitter departures from this unity, but we have recovered from time to time. I hope we can resolve our tribal differences.