A Brief History
On June 13, 1996, after a tense 81 day standoff with the FBI, a group of Americans in the area of Jordan, Montana that had declared themselves “sovereign citizens” not subject to the laws of the United States, finally surrendered.
The Montana Freemen, as they called themselves, had the idea that they could legally declare their lands “Justus Township,” an independent entity outside the jurisdiction of the US government. Various disregard of laws and debts soon got this group in legal and financial trouble, and some were convicted of crimes. By 1996, the FBI had warrants for the arrest of 8 of the Freemen, and a standoff followed until it ended with the arrests and convictions of the 8 men.
A persistent myth in the US of “sovereign citizens” is that people could declare themselves outside government jurisdiction and make their own rules, laws, and even money. Police often deal with such “sovereign citizens,” almost always to the detriment of those sovereign folks!
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you know anyone that believes in the doctrine of “sovereign citizens?” Is this a legitimate concept? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
LLC Books NA. Garfield County, Montana: Jordan, Montana, Montana Freemen, Mosby, Montana, Sand Springs, Montana, Cohagen, Montana, Brusett, Montana. General Books, 2010.
Shannan, J. Patrick. The Montana Freemen: The Untold Story. Center for Historical Analysis, 1966.
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