Objective. Scholars have debated the theory that indigenous American societ
ies influenced the development of American democratic theories, institution
s, and values. The purpose of this research is to examine the research pres
ented by the critics and proponents of the indigenous influence theory. Met
hods. This research analyzes the writings of historians and other scholars
involved in the study of the indigenous influence theory, the writings and
speeches of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century European political philosopher
s, the founding fathers, and indigenous peoples, and government documents.
Results. The scholarly debate has gone beyond proving that indigenous socie
ties did influence the development of American democratic norms, values, an
d institutions to defining the degree of such influence. Conclusions. Futur
e research by the social sciences will add to the multicultural foundations
of political theory and democracy.