Sovereign Citizen ideology, and therefore modern OPCA thought, is based on the white supremacist Christian Identity sect just as surely as Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations and Thom Robb’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The importance lay in its particular mix of racism, the Constitution, religion and common law, and it is these concepts that influenced the development of its legal theory. Most Sovereign Citizens, many of whom are African American, and also many OPCA adherents today, many of whom are descendants of indigenous peoples in nations like Canada and Australia, are completely unaware of their beliefs’ origins.
Since the founding of the United States, the right to vote was restricted to “white men of property”. The later Naturalization Act of 1790 also limited U.S. citizenship to whites only. Indeed, U.S. immigration laws prior to 1965 clearly declare “that Northern Europeans are a superior subspecies of the white race.” White supremacy persisted for decades after the Reconstruction era. In large areas of the U.S. this included the holding of non-whites, specifically African Americans. The outbreak of the Civil War saw the desire to uphold white supremacy being cited as a cause for state secession and the formation of the Confederate States of America.
“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”
In his controversial “Cornerstone Speech” in Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1861, Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States, said:
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.”
Much to their dismay, the very controversial Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery four years later in 1865, and the Fourteenth Amendment enshrined the notion that “all persons born or naturalized” were U.S. citizens whose rights “could not be abridged”.
Unfortunately, this amendment was much ignored by the states in relation to colored people, and this denial of social and political freedom continued into the mid 20th century, resulting in the Civil Rights Movement. A fitting example was how many U.S. states banned interracial marriage through anti-miscegenation laws until 1967, when these laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia.
In 1957, President Eisenhower sent 1,200 troops from the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, so that nine black students could safely enter a previously all-white high school. The Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus had opposed desegregation by making orders to prevent the black students from entering the school, after the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. Eisenhower used an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, derived from the Enforcement Acts of 1870-71 to send federal troops into Little Rock under the Insurrection Act of 1807. The Enforcement Acts were passed to protect African Americans’ right to receive equal protection of laws, and allowed the president to call up military forces when state authorities were either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that was in opposition to the citizens’ constitutional rights. President Eisenhower also issued Executive order 10730, which federalized the entire 10,000-member Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of Faubus’s control, and ordered them to support the integration.
The landmark Civil Rights Act followed in 1964. Another very controversial change of that period, was the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which had such dramatic effect it is considered by historians to be “the immigration law that changed face of America”.
By this time, a radical Christian sect called Christian Identity had established themselves and were the first to stand in nationwide theological protest to these “unholy” changes. The Posse Comitatus movement emerged in 1969, only a few years after the Supreme Court decision and the offending civil rights and immigration laws. By a decade later, the Posse Comitatus had effectively became the judicial arm, and militia, of the Christian Identity movement.
William Potter Gale, a self-styled minister of Christian Identity theology, named the Posse Comitatus movement after the 1878 law he believed Eisenhower had violated by sending the troops to Little Rock, and whose Latin name translates as “power of the county,”. In a series of tapes and self-published pamphlets, Gale explained that county sheriffs were the supreme legal law enforcement officers in the land, and that county residents had the right to form a posse to enforce the Constitution – however they, as “sovereign citizens” chose to interpret it. Public officials who interfered, instructed Gale, should be “hung by the neck” at high noon.
The insignia favored by these Christian Patriots was a redesigned sheriff’s badge containing a noose, Bible and sword, to reflect their belief that sheriffs were responsible for the armed defense of citizens and higher law (a combination of their view of the Constitution and Christian Identity teachings).
As consistent with their faith, the Posse Comitatus only recognised the first Twelve Amendment’s to the U.S. Constitution, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment, are considered by these groups to be unconstitutional. Indeed, even today, most of the radical right white supremacy groups see their kind of legalised racism as flowing from the “Organic Constitution” – the Constitution and Bill of Rights, minus all succeeding amendments. The neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, in one of its more literate moments, argued in its newsletter for resurrection of Dred Scott, the notorious pre-Civil War Supreme Court decision that held that slaves had no constitutional rights.
In the late 1980s, a Los Angeles attorney, Daniel Johnson created the League of Pace Amendment Advocates to push for repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the following decade Oregonian Robert Wangrud, a long an advocate of “white law,” was the principal proponent of abolishing the Fourteenth Amendment and implementing “common law.” Accordingly, most early sovereigns, and some of those who are still on the scene, insisted that being white was a prerequisite to becoming a sovereign or “organic” citizen.
Christian Identity consisted not only of white supremacists but also anti-Semites, mainly because they saw Jews as working behind the scenes to manipulate financial institutions and control the government. In true patriot form, they viewed support of the corporate credit system as an unconstitutional act which would incrementally “deprive the people of their property” as warned by the founding fathers. Similarly, the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, The Order and the White Patriot Party, also share the belief that a “Jewish conspiracy” is in control of governments, the banking industry and the media.
The cornerstone of the Posse Comitatus movement, even for farmers who may have first embraced the check-writing scheme out of economic distress, was this Christian Identity sect. Both the 1980’s Posse Comitatus and the 1990’s Montana Freemen fleshed out a mass-style movement on the bones of this hardcore, Identity-based ideology, with white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, and patriotism playing a central role. Similarly, as with the Posse Comitatus, the Montana Freemen’s anti-government rhetoric was not a case of supporting local control over federal, it was their white racial nation against all others.
While its adherents argued that “the government is nothing but an expansion of the Christian Church” insisting instead that “God himself establishes law” and “common law is Biblical law applied”, they also believed that the unalienable rights of the Constitution belonged to “we the people,” the population mentioned in its Preamble.
This specifically excluded “the colored races and Jews.” Indeed, “we the people” translated for these groups as “the White race, Adamite People and Israel.” Here the word Israel was Identity-speak for whites descended from northern Europeans. The Biblical tribes of Israel, the Anglo Saxons of medieval England and American whites today — they are all of a piece, a single, holy gene pool. The Book of Deuteronomy, the Magna Carta and the Constitution are all seen as God’s law, written only for God’s people: WHITES.
Christian Identity’s so-called “seedline” reading of Genesis asserted that Eve had been impregnated with two seeds, one from Adam and one from Satan. Jews and their banking system were descended from Satan through Cain. Whites — noble, made in the image of God, and Abel, unlike blacks, to blush — were the progeny of Adam and Eve.
Just below the surface of this distinction, is the contention that the United States is therefore peopled by two nations, not one. For themselves and their Aryan kin, there is a republic where whites enjoy unalienable rights superior to those held by people of color and Jews. The latter are denizens of a separate quasi-nation, a corporation created by the Fourteenth Amendment, which “unconstitutionally and unlawfully” granted citizenship and legal rights to colored people and Jews.
Subsequently, the Posse Comitatus drew a serious, albeit discriminative distinction, between themselves and this self-evidently unequal “new type of citizen”. In contrast, they perceived themselves as “Organic citizens” and simply didn’t recognise or include these “corrupt” amendments to their constitutional framework. They only recognised the “Organic Constitution” — the Constitution and Bill of Rights, minus all succeeding amendments. Thankfully, with these unamended constitutional limitations, at least in their own minds, Jews could still not be included as citizens and colored people still had no constitutional rights.
Because the rights afforded by the constitution were understood as being inalienable, the Posse Comitatus concluded in their blatant denial of reality, that the Zionist elite had secretly created a separate “corporate entity”, and simply called it “THE UNITED STATES”. This arguably would of had the desired effect in the public’s eyes at the time, as it was the new system of federal citizenship, distinct to that of the states, which granted, under its charter, colored people and Jews the benefit of a limited legal status, with certain limited civil and political privileges. Privileges that, in relation to the former slaves anyway, were practically ignored by the individual states for another century until the 1960’s. This was, according to adherents, well after they had achieved their initial goal of bankrupting the real nation, finally ending the Gold Standard in 1933, and thereafter creating birth certificate bonds pledging their so-called “citizens” as collateral.
Because of their suspected affiliation to England’s Bar Society, the Posse Comitatus believed the usurpers that instituted this system of governance were themselves considered by the Constitution to be “aliens from over the seas”. Furthermore, that they enfranchised these despised breeds, not under the Constitution, but under their own colonial-era form of international commerce governing the English “slave trade” – which was theorised to operate under “maritime admiralty, the law of the sea”. It was contended the slaves weren’t freed at all, they were simply enfranchised by a new master. It follows then, that these foreign enemies were, according to this bizarre interpretation, a “foreign ship in dry dock” in the District of Columbia.
This was in theory acceptable for the aliens, but it also meant that the entire white population were tricked into becoming “U.S. citizens” and subsequently, every person in America unknowingly became economic slaves to the Jewish bankers now foreclosing on their farming properties. As “Organic citizens” they already enjoyed pre-eminent, unlimited, inalienable rights, but sadly, being unaware of this alleged Zionist scam, the pure, white, Christian people of America had “contracted away” those God-given rights in exchange for the mere privileges, and legal status, of an undesirable colored person, or treasonous foreigner. The recognition and adoption of their original pre-Fourteenth Amendment “Organic” status was vital to maintaining they had rights superior to that of mere colored folk, and especially more so for the “devil’s spawn of Israel in dry dock”
Even without the later development of an somewhat arguable legal theory, purely in their patriotic and theological objection, mixed with a few theorised conspiratorial assertions, the 1970’s Posse Comitatus already considered themselves to be outside of any U.S. laws. They further stepped outside the common law earlier inherited from the despised England. Instead, they instituted their own “common law courts” to enforce a Magna-Carta based, medieval form of common law, or natural law, in their communities. They considered this form of law was constitutional, and therefore superior to statute law assented by another equal sovereign, or their parliament, or laws created by a Congress in “admiralty” jurisdiction.
Although it seems ideologically inconsistent with their theories, and presumably due to the inescapable financial pressures in the 1980’s, the Posse Comitatus, aided by Roger Elvic’s redemption theory, were the first to consider the proposition of “reclaiming” their Fourteenth Amendment citizen or “corporate fiction” to administer it themselves, in the hope of freeing themselves from the theorised “admiralty jurisdiction” while gaining the financial advantage to repay their mortgage and thereby halt their farm foreclosures.
The modern OPCA phenomena, now a global movement, is derived from this racist cosmology. Particularly its strawman theory, which describes a distinction between two types of citizens, one blessed with God-given superiority, and the other, unfortunate denizens of a “registered corporation” headquartered in Washington D.C.