What Is in the Third Amendment?


Quick Answer

The Third Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government from forcing civilian citizens to house and accommodate soldiers in their private homes during peacetime. However, the government has the authority to legislatively enact quartering policies when deemed necessary during war times.

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Full Answer

The Third Amendment was a direct response to British quartering laws imposed in the American colonies leading up to the Revolutionary War. As the British had limited army bases in America, the government charged colonial citizens with providing military barracks and handling any overflow by housing soldiers in public lodgings, businesses, uninhabited homes and privately owned property, such as stables and barns. Many colonists already resented British occupation and opposed the idea of submitting to a mandatory quartering act because the British government failed to consult the colonial assemblies before enforcing these laws.

James Madison constructed the Third Amendment in response to Anti-federalists' criticisms of the Constitution. The Third Amendment is rarely cited in legal disputes and is not considered to be controversial.

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