The French Revolution is one of the major historical events in which modern concepts of citizenship, the state and the nation took shape. It is, moreover, during this period that the military duties and compulsory enlistment of the ancien régime were transformed into the form of conscription that characterized the military systems of a wide range of countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. What is more, the general ambiguity of military service, with its dual nature of being both an expression of civic rights and disciplinarian submission, becomes palpable in a development over ten years, that led from insurrectional forms of popular arming to institutionalized military service. This chapter will analyse the historical movement in which, during the first years of the Revolution, the construction of a revolutionary state involved both institutional continuity with the ancien régime and radical reinterpretation of institutional practices of compulsory military recruitment in terms of a new conception of citizenship. What had been denounced as ‘military slavery’ became an essential pillar of the institutionalized affiliation of the citizen to liberty. The particular dual structure of the ancien régime – and the separations stemming from the dichotomy between the subject and the human being, on the one hand, and between the army and the nation on the other – was not easy to overcome. In practice, this dichotomy continued to exist in the distinction between the standing army and the National Guard. The latter can in fact be interpreted as the institutionalization of the takeover of power by the bourgeoisie and thus as the accomplishment of Enlightenment demands for a rapprochement between the nation and the army. The development of the National Guard was thus perceived as an exemplification of the civic foundations of the emerging nation-state.