What is the Third Amendment, and why do we have it? In full, the Third Amendment 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.
What Makes the Third Amendment Important?
In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders made it clear that “quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures” wasn’t okay. When the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, the Founders were careful to include a protection against quartering.
Great in Theory, Not in Practice
Though there have been several wars since the Revolution to hit what would become the United States, only the War of 1812 and the Civil War saw ground battles in states where the residents were U.S. citizens protected by the Constitution at the time. During both wars, federal troops were quartered in civilian homes without an act of Congress to make it legal.
The Third Amendment doesn’t come up often outside of war on U.S. soil – and it seems like the government is okay with ignoring it even then. Today, it may best serve as a reminder and a warning.