manifest itself first in tensions over slavery and then in a variety of reac- tions to the perceived “overreach” of governmental power. “States’ rights” would become the rallying cry for patriots who wished to hold the constitutional government accountable to its original intent. And when it was perceived that government was overstepping its bounds, there were legislative means—for example, “nullification”—to rein in government, as well as violent reactions. These tensions would eventu- ally culminate in the U.S. Civil War. Given the historical context established in Chapters One and Two, Chapter Three will closely examine the factors that contributed to the making of the contemporary patriot movements. The rise of patriot groups will be examined in light of the end of the Cold War and the grow- ing disenchantment with government and the frustration at the increasing involvement that government was believed to have had in both the public sphere and the personal lives of average Americans. Yet the movements that demanded something different from their government were not just found on the political right. That is, there was not just a longing for a re- turn to the uncomplicated past where government was smaller and less intrusive. Indeed, during this time, there were violent political move- ments that expressed themselves on the left, which demanded wholesale change in their government because it had, in their minds, become “de- structive to its ends.” These groups, though they did not call themselves patriots, nevertheless had the same goal: to change government to one that was more reflective of the times and the aspirations of the people. Chapter Four will examine various patriot and militia groups that formed in the aftermath of the Cold War and in reaction to the perceived changes in American values and the essence of American government. These groups were noticeably on the “right” of the political spectrum in that they shared a desire for smaller, less intrusive—and less obstruc- tive—government. The violence in which these groups engaged differed from organized protests to militarized attempts to change the scope and nature of government. Despite the difference in their methods, however, they all seemed to be motivated by the overwhelming desire to return American government to the pristine past, where state and local govern- ments passed laws that had direct effects on citizens’ lives. Chapter Five examines several patriot/militia groups that formed in the 1980s and the 1990s and the events that propelled their causes and led to the creation of new groups as the millennium approached. Two seminal events in the patriot/militia movement—Ruby Ridge and Waco—are examined and offered as the events that continue to inspire the patriot groups and the militia movements of the 21st century. The xviii Introduction
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