Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


Sovereign Citizen, Posse Comitatus, Flesh-and-Blood Human Body, Strawman, Common law, Pseudo-Legal Argument

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The purpose of this thesis is to assess the Sovereign Citizen Movement and its potential impact on public safety and domestic security. Adherents to the sovereign citizen ideology support varying beliefs. However, all of its adherents assert that the United States federal, state, and local governments are illegitimate and thus do not possess the authority to exercise jurisdiction through the enforcement of laws, statutes, and/or judicial proceedings. Believing that they are separate, or "sovereign”, from the United States, adherents refuse to recognize and abide by orders of government authorities. The movement is largely comprised of pseudo-legal argument litigants and is generally non-violent. However, a number of its adherents engage in criminal activities, including violence, to defend their ideological beliefs. This thesis concludes that the adherents most likely to engage in a violent confrontation or escalation of force will be those individuals who are willing and possess the means to commit violence and contend that violence is both a justifiable and a necessary action. If violent actions are taken, they will most likely occur sporadically and stem from reactive aggression. Such incidents may be increasingly difficult to interdict and prevent and thus will pose the greatest threat to public safety and overall domestic security.


© Jennifer Mary Gardener

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