The Sovereign Citizen Movement | Is This For Real?

group of policemen on horse


What is the sovereign citizen movement? Litigants, commentators, financial scheme promoters, tax protestors. What side of the isle are these guys on? That’s my big question.

The sovereign citizen movement is a loosely organized group of people who believe that the United States government, and its laws, do not apply to them. This ideology is often based on misinterpretations of the law. Sovereign citizens are considered by many to be domestic terrorists. Yeah those guys.

Not pointing fingers here and saying these guys are part of the sovereign movement, but if I’m going to venture to guess then I’m going to say some of the members might have been some of the vigilantes who stormed the capitol at the top of the year. January 6th domestic terror capitol riots.

The sovereign movement is a growing threat to our country.


Let’s explore the origins. What it means for you and me? What makes these people so dangerous? And how in the world we can stop them?

They believe in a society without laws that would be run by predominantly white men with guns–a war zone where anything goes.

The sovereign citizen movement is a group of people who believe that they are not subject to the law and should be able to create their own laws. This movement has been around for decades, but it has recently become more popular in North America. What’s interesting about this group is that they don’t fit into one particular political party or ideology. There have been members on both sides of the aisle- conservative and liberal- who claim to be part of this movement.

The sovereign movement is a group of people who believe that the government has no authority over them. They do not recognize any form of law or regulation. The FBI estimates there are 300,000 sovereigns in the United States with another 200,000 in Canada and they are spread out across all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The FBI itself labels these men and women as domestic terrorists. Sovereigns have been involved in many crimes and terrorist plots ranging from white collar crime to conspiracy as well as gun violence and homicide.

Sovereign citizens are considered dangerous by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies because they believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. They also believe their own interpretation of natural law gives them the freedom to ignore most laws and many court orders. These people often don’t pay taxes or follow traffic rules or any other rules for that matter. Sovereign citizens have been involved in terrorist attacks, assassinations, murder plots against judges, police officers and government officials; fraud schemes including mortgage foreclosure scams; child custody disputes; false liens against public officials; threats against IRS workers; highway blockages to protest government actions or policies (including during recent events such as the Bundy standoff); filing bogus property liens against public officials to intimidate them into doing what sovereigns want done (including judges); and various financial scams.

Their political ideology and social movement advocates that each individual has the right to govern themselves as they see fit.


The concept of sovereign movement is an idea that the citizens should be free to move between countries without interference. Sovereignty has deep roots in antiquity, and was a part of the natural law tradition. The United States Constitution protects its citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. But what happens when someone is arrested outside of the US? 

The Supreme Court ruled on this issue in 1976 with United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, which stated “that no country may exercise jurisdiction within another country’s borders absent some act by which it shows respect for the other nation’s sovereignty.” Many people believe that Americans should not be extradited because they are violating state law but international treaty forbids extradition if there is evidence that a person could face torture or other punishment enforceable by law.

“Reconstruction history is important to many sovereign citizens. Their view is that the governments established in southern states after the Civil War were imposed against the will of and without the consent of the citizens and are not lawful. These sovereigns distinguish between the original state, of which they are citizens, and the false and illegitimate state that occupies the same territory. And, as already mentioned, they view the Fourteenth Amendment as the source of the new separate class of federal citizenship.

A second significant tenet for sovereign citizens, blending with the distinction between sovereign and federal citizens, is that when the federal government abandoned the gold standard in the 1930s it substituted its citizens as collateral for the country’s debts by pledging each citizen’s future earnings to foreign investors. As with all other aspects of sovereign ideology, the details can vary considerably, but generally the explanation for how this happens is that a secret United States Treasury account is set up for each citizen at birth, some large sum of money placed in it or pledged to it, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars — $630,000 is a common number — to millions depending on which sovereign citizen group’s version you hear. As a consequence, they say, two separate identities are created. The corporate shell account, the one pledged as security, is the “strawman” to which sovereign citizens refer and, in their view, is separate and distinct from their true flesh and blood identity.”

UNC School of Government

As good citizens of this land it is critical to the well being of not only our safety, but everyone else, much like the vaccine, it’s not just about us, but the good of the whole we need to remain informed at all times of potential and looming threats like those posed by groups like the sovereign citizens.

And while some of these people might be vaccinated let’s say it’s highly likely they probably aren’t and with the Delta variant spreading like wild fire it’s more critical now than ever. Please get Vaxxed!

Check out our previous post on the Psychology of the Anti Vaxxer.

Posted by

Sue Dhillon is an Indian American writer, journalist, and trainer.

Leave a Reply