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Third Amendment

The Third Amendment protects private homeowners from having the military take over their home to house soldiers. It was added to the Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791.

From the Constitution

Here is the text of the Third Amendment from the Constitution:

"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".

Why was the Third Amendment added to the Constitution?

When you first read this amendment you may wonder why the Founding Fathers chose to add it to the Constitution. Was this really that big of a problem? Actually, before and during the Revolutionary war, it was a huge problem. The British passed laws called Quartering Acts that allowed their soldiers to take over the homes of the American colonists.

Quartering Acts

The first Quartering Act was passed by the British parliament in 1769. It said that the American colonies must pay for the British soldiers that were protecting the colonies. It also said that if British soldiers needed a place to stay they could freely stay in the barns, stables, inns, and alehouses of the colonists.

The second Quartering Act was passed in 1774. It was much worse. It allowed for British troops to stay wherever they wanted, including the colonists' homes. This was considered a major violation of privacy and angered the colonists. It was part of what the colonists called the Intolerable Acts of the British government that pushed the colonies toward war.

Revolutionary War

The practice continued during the Revolutionary War when British soldiers could take over the home of a colonist and demand housing and food. After the war, the colonists wanted to make sure that the new government could not do this again by adding the Third Amendment to the Constitution.

Right to Privacy

The Third Amendment has not been needed very often in modern times. There have been few wars on American soil and the government provides housing for our soldiers. The amendment has been used to demonstrate a citizen's right to privacy by saying that it implies that the government cannot enter private property without the consent of the owner.

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