Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

No Quartering of Soldiers

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Third Amendment to the U.S. 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.”  This Amendment guaranteed the American people that they would not be forced to open their homes to house soldiers without their consent during times of peace; it also guarantees that any wartime housing would be according to law.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained that “this had been a perennial problem” in England.  “The Petition of Right of 1628, which Charles I was compelled to accept, complained that `companies of soldiers and mariners had been dispersed into divers counties, and the inhabitants, against their wills, had been compelled to take them into their homes and allow them there to sojourn against the laws and customs of this realm.’  British authorities were still attempting to do the same thing when troops were sent to the colonies.”  (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 700-701.)

                Andrew P. Morriss of The Heritage Foundation explained, “The Third Amendment combines a straight-forward ban on nonconsensual, peacetime quartering of soldiers in citizens’ houses with a requirement that wartime quartering be done by means approved by the legislature.  The brief congressional debates on the text make clear that the amendment reflects an effort to balance private property rights and the potential wartime need for military quarters.

                “The Anti-Federalists used the absence of a ban on quartering as an argument against ratification.  Once the concept of a Bill of Rights was agreed upon, however, there was little controversy over the inclusion of a ban on quartering.  Six of the original thirteen states also adopted constitutional provisions banning the quartering of soldiers….

                “Because of its clear text, there have been few court opinions discussing the Third Amendment.  The quartering problem has largely been solved today by paying communities to host military bases….”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 322-323.)

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