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.
Major events in America which alarm or inspire the Patriot Movement include the 1993 Waco siege and 1992 Ruby Ridge siege. After declining from 1996 to 2008, the number of patriot groups has increased dramatically following the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The movement's iconography centers on themes relating to the American Revolution, such as the colonial Minuteman, the 13-star "Old Glory" flag, Uncle Sam, and the painting titled "The Spirit of '76".
Some date the movement back to the 1950s. The reformist wing of the patriot movement is considered to have begun in 1958 with the formation of the John Birch Society and opposition to communism, the United Nations and the civil rights movement. An insurgent wing has been traced in origins to the Liberty Lobby active in the 1950s with promotion of themes of White supremacy and antisemitism.
In the early 1990s, the patriot movement saw a surge of growth spurred by the confrontations at Ruby Ridge and Waco. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by two patriot movement members, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. During the 1990s the movement organized using "gun shows and the Internet". The movement was highly active in the mid-1990s, and at a peak in 1996 contained around 800 separate groups. It saw decline in the late 1990s
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 and 1,274 in 2011. 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 Muslim Sharia law becoming part of the US court system—has played into the growth of the groups.
An extremist member of the patriot movement carried out the 2009 anti-abortion murder of George Tiller, and some extremists within the movement also have expressed support for Joseph Stack's 2010 plane crash into an Internal Revenue Service office.
Views of the patriot movement 
Descriptions of the patriot movement include:
- 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;
- "A brand of politics historically associated with libertarians, militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who argue for the abolition of the Federal Reserve;
- A movement outspoken regarding the constitution and particularly the 14th amendment and 2nd amendment. As a result, some members refuse to pay their income taxes, and some groups operate their own common-law legal system. Patriot movement members are often concerned about the rise of a New World Order, sometimes coming in the form of a United Nations takeover.
In addition, the patriot movement has been associated with the following views:
- Religious views focused on finding "signs of the end of times"
- Suspicion regarding surveillance
Elements of the patriot movement have expressed support for various conspiracy theories:
- Federal government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing (Convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh was "heavily involved in the patriot movement" and the bombing was modeled after one of the missions in a white supremacist novel, The Turner Diaries, "one of McVeigh's favorite books".)
- Federal government involvement in the John F. Kennedy assassination
In addition to the militia movement which is said to have come out of the patriot movement, Patriot movement is often associated with the Sovereign citizen movement who believe that "most US law doesn't apply to them".
Groups that have been mentioned in association with the patriot movement include
- League of the South (president Michael Hill)
- Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (headed by William Gheen)
- Militia of Montana (leader John Trochmann)
- Michigan Militia
- "The Oath Keepers" was founded in March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes in Lexington, Massachusetts. The organization which advocates that its members (current and former U.S. military, and law enforcement) uphold their oaths of service, and pledging to protect the U.S. Constitution. The Oath Keepers as a group have grown to include chapters in many states across America.
- Republic Magazine, founded in 2008, bills itself as "the voice of the patriot movement"
- American Patriot Party founded 2003, online publication of American Patriotism, historical documents and links relating to freedom.
See also 
- Oath Keepers
- List of organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups
- Sovereign citizen movement
- Alex Jones
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- Seeking Clues on Suspect in Shooting of Doctor - NYT.com
- Patriot Movement Calling Joe Stack a Hero - ABC News
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