3rd Amendment? What is the 3rd Amendment?
The 3rd Amendment of the American constitution deals with the quartering of soldiers during peacetimes. The 3rd Amendment basically forbids quartering of soldiers in private or civilian facilities and homes without the owner’s consent during times of peace. This amendment was proposed as a response to the Quartering Acts passed by the British Government preceding the American Revolutionary War. The British Quartering Act allowed them to house soldiers in civilian homes as they saw fit.
The Amendment was introduced in the Congress in 1789 by James Madison and it was a part of the United States Bill of Rights and it was a response to the various objections raised by the Anti-Federalists to the new Constitution. Within 2 years, three-quarters of the Congress had ratified the bill and Thomas Jefferson adopted the amendment on 1st March 1792. The 3rd Amendment happens to be the least controversial of all the Amendments and is never litigated.
History of the 3rd Amendment
In the year 1765, the British Government passed the first of the Quartering Acts which required American colonies to pay for the British soldiers serving in the colonies. The Act also required the residents of the colonies to house the soldiers in places such as inns, pubs, and stables in case the space in the local barracks proved to be insufficient. After the Boston Tea Party, the Quartering Acts of 1774 were implemented and was considered one of the Intolerable Acts. This instigated the colonies towards revolution against the British Government. The Quartering Act of 1774 forced the colonists to house British soldiers in their private homes without their consent. The quartering of the troops was declared as one of the major grievances in the American Declaration of Independence.
Adoption of the Amendment
Several years of weak governance under the Articles of Confederation forced a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on 17th September 1787. The Convention had many changes, and one of the notable ones was the appointment of a stronger Chief Executive. Constitutional Convention delegate and a drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights George Mason proposed for a bill of rights that would list out all the civil liberties that would be enjoyed by the future citizens of the nation. There were certain opponents to the bill as well such as James Madison who happened to the be the future Bill of Rights drafter and argued that the existing civil liberties were sufficient for the society and that any further attempts to amplify individual rights would curtail other given rights. In the initial debate, Mason's proposal was unanimously defeated.
IN the 1st United States Congress which followed the state legislature’s request, James Madison proposed a set of 20 constitutional amendments which were based on the Bill of Rights. One of the 20 amendments was the 3rd amendment relating to the Quartering Act. There were many alterations proposed to the third amendment which set the various definitions for peace and war. The revisions also decided if the legislature would have the authority for quartering of soldiers during times of war. The amendment passed the Congress votes unanimously, and the number of proposed amendments by James Madison was reduced to 12. There were many further alterations done to the amendments in general, and some of the amendments were removed. It finally boiled down to ten amendments when Thomas Jefferson passed them on 1st March 1792.
There has been little to no reason to invoke the third amendment since the war of independence. Till today, no Supreme Court decision has ever used the 3rd amendment as its primary basis.