National Guard, a system of militia instituted in France in 1789. The court had concentrated at the gates of the capital an army of 30,-000 regular troops. To counteract this demonstration, the citizens demanded arms, and on July 13 a municipal council decreed the formation of a militia of 60 battalions numbering 48,000 men. White, the color of the royal standard, was united with the blue and red colors of the city of Paris to form the color of this revolutionary force, afterward so famous as the tricolor. The other cities of France promptly followed the example, and the institution took the name of national guard. In 1795 the national guard of Paris, to the number of 30,000, rose in arms against the convention, Oct. 5, and attacked the Tuileries, but were repulsed and defeated by 6,000 regular troops commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte. The national guard was now placed under the authority of the commander-in-chief of the regular army. During the revolution of July, 1830, the national guard was revived at Paris, and on July 30 Lafayette, who 40 years before had commanded the first national guard, was again made commander-in-chief. After the revolution of 1848 the national guard was largely increased, and by a law of June 26, 1851, it was organized throughout France, and made to include all citizens above the age of 20, except regular soldiers and persons employed in the service of the government.
After the coup d'e-tat of Dec. 2, 1851, it was dissolved, and reestablished by a decree dated Jan. 11, 1852, on a new and much restricted plan, reducing it to the condition of a mere armed police for the repression of tumults. During the Franco-German war the national guard was reorganized. After the evacuation of Paris by the Germans and the ratification of peace by the national assembly, in the early part of 1871, the national guards still remained under arms. They refused to obey the orders of the government to disarm and disband, but seized a number of guns, and occupied the batteries of Mont-martre and the quarters of Belleville and Vi-lette. After the overthrow of the commune, the national assembly voted the dissolution of the national guard throughout France.