Why Do We Still Need the Third Amendment?

(TheRedWire.com) – When the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, it was with the understanding that representatives of the 13 states would meet and add amendments to address concerns expressed by individual states. That gathering led to the first 10 amendments to the documents, known as The Bill of Rights. Each one is still relevant today, including one they placed in the third slot.

Text of the Third Amendment

The Founding Fathers in what would be considered an oddity today took the approach of making it clear and concise. The text 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.”

It may seem strange and archaic for the world that exists today, but the reasoning behind it could become a factor if it wasn’t there.

Historical Context

In the days before the Constitution and the formation of a country separated from the excesses of the British, the colonists were forced to house and feed the Red Coats at their expense. They felt this was both an invasion of their privacy and infringed on their liberty by having men in their homes whose sworn loyalty was to King George III.

These rules had a direct impact on the event now known as the Boston Massacre, when five colonists were killed for throwing snowballs and sticks at the British soldiers. It was such an egregious event that Thomas Jefferson included in three separate points of the Declaration of Independence:

  • He has kept among us in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders…

Potential in Today’s America

There have been just a few court cases that have even mentioned this amendment in the 20th and 21st centuries, and even then, only in a tangential way. However, in early 2020, the country was facing rioting in many cities, including Washington, DC.

The Constitution gives the federal government the authority to quell domestic unrest and the Secretary of Defense used that to call in National Guard units from around the country to defend federal land. While performing this duty, the soldiers were forced to enter into a city street and Mayor Muriel Bowser vocally claimed sovereignty, evoking the sense of the amendment.

Fortunately, the administration made the decision to defuse the situation and pulled the troops out of the city, regardless of the fact that the District of Columbia is a federal territory, not a state. With the continued unrest around the country, a more unreasonable president might simply ignore requests of local officials and declare a state of martial law.

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