Glossary Term

Sovereign Citizen Movement

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A large anti-government extremist movement with origins dating back half a century, sovereign citizens believe that, back in the 1860s, a conspiracy began to infiltrate the government, subverting its laws and replacing them with tyrannical laws. This conspiracy eventually replaced the original, “de jure” government with a new, illegitimate “de facto” government designed to enslave people. Sovereign citizens believe that they can declare their “sovereignty” and return to the pre-conspiracy government, after which the “de facto” government has no authority or jurisdiction over them. Sovereign citizens thus believe they can ignore laws, rules, regulations and taxes; as a result, the movement has a high association with criminal activity, violent and non-violent. Though the sovereign citizen movement began in the United States, it spread to Canada in the 1990s and to other English-speaking countries in the 2000s.