Qovereign Qitizens

Under hashtags like #19thpresident (which has more than 235,000 views), or #march4th (which has more than 1.4 million views) TikTok users are propagating the idea that an obscure 1871 act made the United States a corporation and not a federal government, thus rendering any laws passed after that year moot and U.S. citizens not subject to them. According to this theory, the United States will revert back to its original form on March 4th, the date when presidents were inaugurated prior to the 1933 passage of the 20th amendment. They believe Trump will be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States. (The 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant, served between 1869 and 1877, or the time period when those who cling to this theory believe the United States “became” a “corporation.”)

This conspiracy theory stems from the principles of the sovereign citizen movement, a fringe movement predicated on a slew of bizarre legal interpretations and theories aimed at “proving” that U.S. citizens are not subject to any laws passed after 1871. There has historically been some minor overlap between the sovereign citizen movement and the QAnon community, says Mike Rothschild, a QAnon expert and author of the book World’s Worst Conspiracies. ” These are people who think that through legal chicanery they can free themselves of U.S. laws and open up huge bank accounts that only they can access,” he says. “These ideas aren’t a million miles from Q, or from the affinity frauds that led up to it. It’s all about believing yourself [to be] above the law and special and ‘chosen’ in ways that normal law-abiding citizens don’t know about.”

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