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The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens[1] to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. Legal and historical meanings of militia include:

  • Defense activity or service, to protect a community, its territory, property, and laws.[2]
  • The entire able-bodied population of a community, town, county, or state, available to be called to arms.
  • A subset of these who may be legally penalized for failing to respond to a call-up.
  • A subset of these who actually respond to a call-up, regardless of legal obligation.
Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000
  2. p.7, Sumner
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