The patriot movement is a collection of various conservative, independent, largely rural, small-government, social movements in the United States that include organized militia members, tax protesters, sovereign or state citizens, quasi-Christian apocalypticists, or combinations thereof. Adherents describe the movement as centered on a belief that individual liberties are in jeopardy due to unconstitutional actions taken by elected government officials, appointed bureaucrats, and some special interest groups outside of government, to illegally accumulate power. Journalists and researchers have associated the patriot movement with the right-wing militia movement and some in the movement with illegal acts of violence.
In 2009, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) expressed concern about a resurgent patriot movement, and the United States Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning of heightened "Rightwing Extremism". The SPLC attributed this growth to "an angry backlash against non-white immigration and ... the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president." It reported that the number of patriot groups grew from 149 in 2008, to 824 in 2010, to 1,274 in 2011 and 1,360 in 2012. According to the SPLC, "That explosive growth seems to have been driven by the election of our first black president and the approaching loss of a white majority in the U.S. that he represents. Another driver is the crash of the economy, which coincided neatly with the rise to national power of President Obama."
The SPLC found that while "there are many people" in the patriot movement "that aren't engaged in illegal activity,” the "normalizing of conspiracy theories"—such as the belief that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is building concentration camps; rumors of covert plans by Mexico to repatriate parts of the Southwest; and concerns about MuslimSharia law becoming part of the US court system—has played into the growth of the groups.
A diverse movement with as its common thread a growing dissatisfaction with and alienation from government, the willingness to use military force to defend their rights, and a conspiratorial eschatology;
In addition to the militia movement, which is said to have come out of the patriot movement, the patriot movement is often associated with the sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe that "most US law doesn't apply to them."
Groups that have been mentioned in association with the patriot movement include
American Patriot Party 2003 2006 (National Chair Richard Taylor) Supports Constitution as defined by Founders in the Ratifying Conventions - Common Law
"The Oath Keepers" was founded in March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes in Lexington, Massachusetts. The organization consists of current and former U.S. military personnel and law enforcement officials who have taken an oath to refuse to obey and/or enforce orders and/or federal laws which they deem unconstitutional. The Oath Keepers as a group have grown to include chapters in many states across America.
^Wright, Stuart T. (2007). Patriots, politics, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN0-521-87264-2. "...marking the genesis of a Patriot narrative. The Birch Society was founded in 1958 by Robert Welch,..."
^Michael, George C. (2003). Confronting right-wing extremism and terrorism in the USA. New York: Routledge. pp. 44–47. ISBN0-415-31500-X.
^Matthew Lyons; Berlet, Chip (2000). Right-wing populism in America: too close for comfort. New York: Guilford Press. pp. 288–289. ISBN1-57230-562-2. "The Patriot movement was bracketed on the reformist side by the Birch Society and the conspiracist segment of the Christian Right and on the insurgent side by the Liberty Lobby and groups promoting themes historically associated with White supremacy and antisemitism."