American Redoubt

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A map that shows the boundaries of the American Redoubt

The American Redoubt[1] is a political migration movement first proposed in 2011 by survivalist novelist and blogger James Wesley Rawles[2][3] which designates Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming along with eastern parts of Oregon and Washington, as a safe haven for conservative Christians.[1][2] Rawles chose this area due to its low population density and lack of natural hazards.[4]

It is difficult to measure how many people have been influenced by the proposal to move to these states; USA Today estimated that anywhere from "hundreds" to "a few thousand" people may have come, although some may have moved for reasons of general cultural affinity rather than being directly influenced by Rawles's proposal.


Kim Murphy, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, summed up one motivation for the movement: "For a growing number of people, it's the designated point of retreat when the American economy hits the fan. When banks fail, the government declares martial law, the power grid goes down."[2] The same article identified Rawles as "the guru of the movement".[2] Summarizing one of his reasons for formulating the relocation strategy, Rawles stated: "I'm often asked why I make such a 'big deal' about choosing conservative Christians, Messianic Jews, or Orthodox Jews for neighbors. The plain truth is that in a societal collapse there will be a veritable vacuum of law enforcement. In such times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God-fearing that will continue to be law-abiding. Choose your neighborhood wisely."[5]

The American Redoubt concept is based primarily around the "Rawlesian Survivalist Philosophy"[6] including the precept "Racism Ignores Reason". Rawles is outspokenly anti-racist[7][8][9] and pro-Israel.[10] Rawles published a blog entry in 2010 titled "Lest Any Man Should Boast: A Christian Survivalist Perspective on Race, Religion, and Reason", in which he stated that he was opposed to racism due to his Christian faith. He covered at length his views that people are individuals and that there is no inherent superiority among races. He observed that certain races have different genetics, but those do not matter before God. The only thing that matters when he meets his maker, he contended, was whether he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.[11]

In an interview by G. Jeffrey MacDonald published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rawles was quoted as saying: "It's time to distance ourselves from the vile corruptness that we see inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway ... [The American Redoubt movement] is analogous to the Puritan exodus (from Europe). They couldn't fit in and said, 'We're going to move to completely virgin territory and start afresh.' ... In effect, we're becoming pistol-packing Amish."[12] Rawles advocates a gradual demographic consolidation through political migration to the American Redoubt, but predicts that the federal government will "hammer" any states that attempt to secede under the current political order.[13] Rawles also stated: "People who recognize that they are of the [Christian] remnant, that they are God's elect, will in increasing numbers choose to vote with their feet."[14]


In 2011, the American Redoubt concept was endorsed by 2008 Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who had relocated his entire extended family to western Montana.[15] It also soon inspired the launch of a weekly podcast by Christian Libertarian journalist John Jacob Schmidt, called Radio Free Redoubt,[16] and a volunteer network of amateur radio operators called AmRRON (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) established in 2012.[17] It also inspired the launch of the blog and weekly podcast by Alex Barron, called the Charles Carroll Society,[18] Barron, a black Catholic Libertarian journalist, is the self-proclaimed "Bard of the American Redoubt" who speaks from a Traditional Catholic, Constitutional Conservative, American Patriot viewpoint.[citation needed] In 2013, he opined:

[Rawles] coined the term American Redoubt to explain this concept. The American Redoubt a simple concept, it is called political migration. ... There are many groups who have done this over the years including the Puritans; Native Americans moving West to escape the European colonization (I guess forced ethnic cleansing, but again I hope you get the point), Americans of African descent escaping the Southern forced racial apartheid system (racial migration?). Many, many groups move because of various reasons including political reasons. The American Redoubt is libertarian leaning Christian and Jewish traditionalist politically migrating from militant progressive secular states that are becoming increasingly hostile to their Christian based western culture.[18]

In February 2012, The Seattle Times characterized the American Redoubt movement as appealing to "a growing number of people" but concluded that as of that time "not all that many so far" had actually moved to the area.[2][19] In April 2012, the business/arts columnist for The Ferry County View, a weekly newspaper in Republic, Washington (located inside the Redoubt region) was critical of the Redoubt movement, characterizing it as driven by fear.[20] By contrast, in October 2013, The 700 Club aired a news segment that favored the American Redoubt relocation concept. In an aside, the news story mentioned how the growth of the movement has even inspired the minting of silver coins.[21]

On October 14, 2013, Christian Broadcasting Network completed a featured television news segment and accompanying article on the American Redoubt titled Redoubt: Northwest a Haven for Dismayed Americans.[21] In the article they noted "... Some conservative American Christians are so dismayed with direction of the country that they're looking for a safe place for their families. They call it the 'American Redoubt.'" Westbrook continued, "I think that people recognize that tough times are coming. And it's time to think about their situation, it's time to think about how they live now, and the security of their family, the stability of society and how they are going to relate to that ... But I'm finding something else, too." he continued. "That is that more and more people are resonating with this idea of getting back to the land, of living a simple, more natural way."

It is unclear how many people have moved because of the American Redoubt concept. In an interview on the Charles Carroll Society podcast in 2014, James Rawles estimated the number

...well into the thousands, but it is difficult to quantify, because the vast majority of the people who are moving are preppers, who are by their nature very circumspect. However look at admittedly anecdotal evidence such as the growth of Pastor Chuck Baldwin's Liberty Fellowship church in Kalispell, Montana where the growth has been phenomenal, and many of the families are moving from far outside of the Redoubt states.[22]

Rawles does not provide figures for what he terms "phenomenal" growth of the church, which meets at a local Hilton Garden Inn, according to the Church's website,[23] but at his website, Baldwin mentions that some recent meetings were attended by more than 1,000 people.

Evolution of the movement[edit]

By 2016, Chris Carlson, a retired Democratic Party organizer, was comparing advocates of the American Redoubt to survivalists, with the difference being that the Redoubters have "become the shock troops for the Tea Party and openly support certain candidates."[24] Carlson also claimed that the political migration to western states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming has been driven by Redoubters seeking to be free from the federal government and that while they disavow racism, they have chosen a location where there are few racial minorities.[24]

An August 2016 article about the movement in The Economist magazine mentioned that "thousands of families" have now migrated to the American Redoubt and that the movement is "quietly gaining steam."[25] Indeed, the election of Donald Trump has spurred on the movement. In 2017 the Inlander said "But increasingly, they [Preppers] see more political violence in big cities, and more of a divide between rural and urban environments. The left's reaction to Donald Trump's presidency, they feel, has deepened the divide, making the day they've been preparing for seem ever more imminent."[26]

In a Chicago Tribune article by Kevin Sullivan on August 27, 2016, noted

It is impossible to know exactly how many people have come over the past few years, but newcomers, real estate agents, local officials and others said it was in the hundreds, or perhaps even a few thousand, across all five states. Here, they live in a pristine place of abundant water and fertile soil, far from urban crime, free from most natural disasters and populated predominantly by conservative, mostly Christian people with a live-and-let-live ethos and local governments with a light regulatory touch and friendly gun laws.[27]

Political influence[edit]

It has been asserted that Republican Party politics in Idaho's northernmost legislative district have been pulled farther to the right with the arrival of conservative Christian "preppers" fleeing more populated states. In 2014, two ultraconservative state legislators were elected from the district: Reps. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, and Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay. In 2016, state senator Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint – an 8-time incumbent and a moderate Republican from one of the most conservative areas of Idaho – faced a hard primary challenge, but went on to win the general election.[28][29]

Voices of the movement[edit]

There are three primary outlets for the American Redoubt movement.[original research?] James Rawles' blog regularly covers Redoubt news and focuses on preparedness "how to" guides. John Jacob Schmidt's blog Radio Free Redoubt and his radio show The John Jacob Schmidt Show, transmitted on the American Christian Network (ACN) and KTW 630 AM out of Spokane, Washington, carries news and commentary often focused on the American Redoubt.[30] The Charles Carroll Society and podcast by Alex Barron focuses on politics and commentary related to the American Redoubt and the many traditional Catholics located there.[citation needed] Similarly, the online outlet, Redoubt News publishes news and opinion relevant to Christian conservative culture in the American Redoubt.[30]

In December 2019, Rawles published a list of "key leaders and promoters of the American Redoubt movement", starting with Montana pastor Chuck Baldwin, who celebrates the Confederacy and preaches antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories, along with former Washington State Representative Matt Shea and North Idaho Representative Heather Scott.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rawles, James (2011). "The American Redoubt – Move to the Mountain States". Survivalblog. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Murphy, Kim (February 8, 2008). "The American Redoubt, where survivalists plan to survive". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  3. ^ Lenz, Ryan (November 15, 2011). "A Gathering of Eagles: Extremists Look to Montana". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Young, Matt (April 3, 2017). "American Redoubt: James Wesley Rawles on the end of the world". Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (September 1, 2006). "The Memsahib's Quote of the Day". SurvivalBlog. Archived from the original on August 4, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  6. ^ Rawles, James. "Rawlesian Survivalist Philosophy". Survivalblog. James Rawles. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Hilliker, Joel (November 4, 2009). "What Survivalists Have Right". theTrumpet. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  8. ^ North, John (August 9, 2012). "Collapse coming? Survival guru tailor tips to Carolinians". Asheville Daily Planet. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  9. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2009). How to Survive The End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times. New York: Plume (Division of Penguin Books). p. 13. ISBN 978-0141049335.
  10. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (November 30, 2011). "The SPLC's Demonization of SurvivalBlog and "Montana Extremists"". Survivalblog. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  11. ^ Rawles, James (March 10, 2010). "Lest Any Man Should Boast: A Christian Survivalist Perspective on Race, Religion, and Reason". SurvivalBlog. James Rawles. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  12. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (November 30, 2012). "Secession theology runs deep in American religious, political history : Lifestyles". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Religion News Service. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  13. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (November 30, 2012). "Seeking purity through separation". Times Union. Albany. Religion News Service. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  14. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (November 29, 2012). "A surge in secessionist theology". The Christian Century. Religion News Service. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  15. ^ Baldwin, Chuck (March 31, 2011). "The American Redoubt". Newswithviews. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Voice of the American Redoubt: Emerging Safe Haven and Refuge for God-Fearing, Liberty-Loving Patriots". Radiofreeredoubt. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  17. ^ "AmRRON: The American Redoubt Radio Operators Network and The America Preparedness Radio Network (TAPRN)". amrron. April 21, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Barron, Alex (January 28, 2013). "The Bard". The Charles Carroll Society. Alex Barron. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  19. ^ Murphy, Kim (February 9, 2012). "Local News | Economy, blogs give survivalists new reason to look to Northwest | Seattle Times Newspaper". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  20. ^ "Op-Ed: American redoubt or doubt?". Ferry County View. April 28, 2012. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Holton, Chuck (October 14, 2013). "Redoubt: Northwest a Haven for Dismayed Americans". CBN News. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  22. ^ Barron, Alex (October 8, 2014). "Podcast Episode 16-2014: James Rawles American Redoubt Interview". The Charles Carroll Society. Alex Barron. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Liberty Fellowship MT > About Us > Location". Liberty Fellowship. 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Carlson, Chris (January 26, 2016). "Raising serious doubts about American Redoubt". Coeur d'Alene Press. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "The last big frontier". The Economist. August 6, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  26. ^ Criscione, Wilson. "Here in the American Redoubt". Inlander. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  27. ^ Sullivan, Kevin. "In the Pacific Northwest, members of survivalist movements are growing in number". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  28. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (May 15, 2016). "Redoubt movement helps push North Idaho politics to extreme right". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  29. ^ "Idaho 1st District State Senate Results: Shawn Keough Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  30. ^ a b c Walters, Daniel (February 6, 2020). "North Idaho Rep. Heather Scott reaps the glory — and the consequences — of being one of Matt Shea's biggest allies - Local News - Spokane - News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest". Inlander - Local News - Spokane - News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest. Retrieved January 25, 2023. Last December, Rawles put both Scott and Shea on his list of "key leaders and promoters of the American Redoubt movement."... The Redoubt movement has its own alternative media network, filled with some of Scott's most ardent supporters like Redoubt News blogger Shari Dovale — "Patriot Journalist" on her business card — and pseudonymous Radio Free Redoubt radio host John Jacob Schmidt... Yet, it's not hard to see why some people conflate the Redoubt movement with Idaho's ugly past. Montana pastor Chuck Baldwin — the first on Rawles' list of Redoubt movement promoters — celebrates the Confederacy and preaches anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Further reading[edit]