National Guard

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National Guard

National Guard, U.S. militia. The militia is authorized by the Constitution of the United States, which also defines the militia's functions and the federal and state role. Article 1, Section 8 provides that Congress shall have the power to call forth “the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.” Congress was entrusted with organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, but the appointment of officers and the training of the militia were reserved to the states. Further provisions were made in the Second Amendment. In peacetime the National Guard is placed under state jurisdiction and can be used by governors to quell local disturbances, as in Newark and Detroit riots in 1967, and to help in times of local disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. In times of war or other emergencies the National Guard is absorbed into the active service of the United States and the president is commander in chief. The National Guard has been partially mobilized during the Korean War, the Berlin crisis of 1961, and the Persian Gulf War and for peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The National Guard's equipment and personnel are standardized to conform with U.S. army regulations. Enlistment is voluntary; compensation, paid by the federal government, is given for periods of drill and field training. The Air National Guard was formed in 1947.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

National Guard


an armed civilian militia created for the first time in Paris under the command of General the Marquis de La Fayette in 1789 at the beginning of the Great French Revolution. It was formed on a geographical basis by quarters and districts. In the early period the junior-level and middle-level command personnel of the national guard were elected, and the commander in chief was appointed by the government.

National guard detachments from the democratic quarters of Paris participated in the uprising of Aug. 10, 1792, and in the suppression of the counterrevolutionary uprisings (the wars of the Vendee). Under Napoleon I the national guard was used as an auxiliary military force. The national guard was disbanded during the Restoration in 1827 but was restored after the July Revolution of 1830. During the February Revolution of 1848 a substantial part of the national guard supported the insurgents, but during the June Days of 1848 the Provisional Government used the national guard from the bourgeois quarters of Paris against the workers. Under the Second Empire, the national guard was reorganized (1852)—the officers were appointed by the emperor. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, democratic detachments of the national guard, composed of workers and artisans, actively participated in the defense of Paris.

After the March 18 uprising of the Paris proletariat, the Central Committee of the National Guard, created in March 1871, became the provisional revolutionary government of the Paris Commune of 1871 (until March 28). After elections to the Commune, leadership of the national guard was transferred to the Military Delegation of the Commune. A decree of the Commune on Mar. 29, 1871, replaced the standing army with the national guard, which was headed by J. Dąbrowski, W. Wróblewski, and other revolutionaries. The national guard was disbanded in August 1871 after the suppression of the Commune.

In the bourgeois revolutions of 1848–49 civilian militias similar to the national guard (or civilian guards) were active in the states of the German Confederation, Spain, the Italian states, and elsewhere.


Poisson, C. L’Armée et la garde nationale, vols. 1–4. Paris, 1858–62.
Girard, L. La Garde nationale 1814–1871. Paris [1964].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

National Guard

military reserve units frequently help in civil disturbances and natural disasters. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1885]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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