Tribal Councils: Benjamin Franklin's Framework for Democracy

Discover How the World Came to Our Door

After the Revolutionary War, the newly independent United States of America was in need of a new sustainable form of government. European nations were ruled by monarchies and offered no functioning model for a democracy. However, Benjamin Franklin was impressed with tribal councils, which had endured for centuries within North America's Indian nations. The Chickasaws were a prominent example among the Southeastern tribes of a successful, sovereign nation that met in Council Houses, where they listened, spoke their minds, voted and remained united as a people. The Chickasaws' form of government offered proof that democracy worked and inspired Benjamin Franklin to advocate for a representative democracy and other founding fathers followed, persuading the remaining state delegates to form a self-ruling union and sign America's Constitution.