The Rights of These United States: The Third Amendment

It is a true pleasure to discuss the rights that we as Americans so freely enjoy. That being said, let us now look at the third of our Constitutional Amendments. It reads “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

[STOCK IMAGE/War Reenactment] Limeys: and How They Got That Way
[STOCK IMAGE/War Reenactment] Limeys: and How They Got That Way
This Amendment was first introduced by none other than President James Madison in 1789. By 1792 it was ratified by all needed states. This was proposed in direct relation to the British Quartering Soldiers in the homes of American Colonials both before and during the Revolutionary war. During the war, the British Soldiers and Sailors billeted in the homes of the Colonials caused irreparable damage. Millions of family heirlooms and personal artifacts were either lost or destroyed. After adjusting for over 200 years of economic blunders (and inflation), trillions of dollars’ worth of damage was caused to the personal property of the Colonials.

"...if you can keep it."
“…if you can keep it.”

Of all 27 constitutional Amendments this is the only one that has not been subjected to a SCOTUS (U.S. Supreme Court) case ruling. The third amendment is the least controversial of all our rights, but let us take it one step at a time: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner…” what does that mean? It means that unless you give consent, no governmental body can tell you that you must allow any military personnel to reside in your home. Not one Soldier, Sailor or Marine may reside in your home without your consent.

“…nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law”. Well, now that seems to contradict the first part but it doesn’t really. It supports it: what this means is that at no time can any governmental body force you to allow the military to reside in your home without your consent.

Even in the hallowed halls of Congress the third amendment is referred to as the “runt piglet.” This is not in any way intended to be disrespectful to the amendment, [but] it’s just kind of been made into a de facto amendment. My wife calls it an “inactive” amendment. I disagree; this amendment is not inactive for, if it was, then I am sure that some bean counter some place would have decided to start housing our troops in civilians’ homes to save a few dollars and help balance the infamous “budget.”

[photo credit: REUTERS]
[photo credit: REUTERS]
   

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