III. 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.
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About the Third Amendment
The Third Amendment was written to counter an oft-used British technique designed both to save the Crown's money as well as to demoralize its subjects. Such was common enough that it was made part and parcel of the infamous "Coercive Acts" (the British response to the Boston Tea Party).
By quartering soldiers in private homes, there was no cost to the military for room and board. At the same time, the government made a not-so-subtle referecce to its own power and authority as well as had its representatives firmly entrenched within the day-to-day lives of the people themselves. These factors made it difficult if not impossible for citizens to organize any kind of rebellion.
To date, the Third Amendment has remained largely unchallenged. In a related decision rendered in 1982, however, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals did determine that the National Guard are considered soldiers rather than militia, and the Third Amendment is applicable. Engblom v. Carey also established that the Third Amendment applies to state governments as well as to the federal government.
Today, with talk from the White House about establishing some kind of quasi-military civilian force, to be funded on a par with the rest of the military, the Third Amendment may prove truly relevant once again. And when you take note of the fact that some posse comitatus has been pretty much gutted, well, you begin to see how the Founders felt and why they wrote this particular addition.
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