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02.- The Basque Forua and the US Constitution

Referring to the historical ties that existed between Euskal Herria and the United States, some authors stress the admiration felt by John Adams, second president of the US., for the Basques' historical form of government. Adams, who on his tour of Europe visited Bizkaia, was impressed. He cited the Basques as an example in "A defense of the Constitution of the United States", as he wrote in 1786:

"In a research like this, after those people in Europe who have had the skill, courage, and fortune, to preserve a voice in the government, Biscay, in Spain, ought by no means to be omitted. While their neighbours have long since resigned all their pretensions into the hands of kings and priests, this extraordinary people have preserved their ancient language, genius, laws, government, and manners, without innovation, longer than any other nation of Europe. Of Celtic extraction, they once inhabited some of the finest parts of the ancient Boetica; but their love of liberty, and unconquerable aversion to a foreign servitude, made them retire, when invaded and overpowered in their ancient feats, into these mountainous countries, called by the ancients Cantabria…"

"…It is a republic; and one of the privileges they have most insisted on, is not to have a king: another was, that every new lord, at his accession, should come into the country in person, with one of his legs bare, and take an oath to preserve the privileges of the lordship".


John Adams

Authors such as Navascues, and the Basque-American Pete Cenarrusa, former Secretary of the State of Idaho, agree in stressing the influence of the Forua of Bizkaia [code of laws in Biscay] on some parts of the US Constitution. John Adams traveled in 1779 to Europe to study and compare the various forms of government then found on the Old Continent. The American Constitution was approved by the first thirteen states on 17 September 1787.




John Adams dedicated a chapter of this book to explain the 'Forua' or Basque laws system