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militia

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militia

This refers to an armed force of civilians organized and trained to fight as soldiers in an emergency. Every colony but Pennsylvania established a militia, in which all males aged 16–45 were liable for duty. The militia fought all colonial conflicts until the Seven Years' War, when campaigning was done by specially raised regiments of provincial volunteers. In the Revolutionary War, militia served as reserves for the Continental army and as a police force to root out Tories. The Second Amendment guaranteed the states' right to maintain a militia, and the Militia Act (8 May 1792) prescribed its organization. Martin v. Mott affirmed the president's authority over militia in wartime. The militia provided most US troops in the War of 1812, but not during the Mexican and Civil wars, when volunteer units were raised to reinforce the regulars (although militia performed significant services in the border states between 1861 and 1865). After 1870 militias were reorganized as the National Guard, and by 1896, only three states designated their state forces as militia. The Dick Act (21 January 1903) replaced the Militia Act (1792) and reconstituted all state forces as the National Guard, although the US Army's Militia Bureau was not renamed the National Guard Bureau until 1933.