Constitution Tuesday: 3rd Amendment

Oh, the much-debated and ever-controversial third amendment!  Just kidding – nobody cares.  It’s the least litigated amendment of them all and arguably the least relevant in modern day.  But James Madison worked hard, dammit, and we’re gonna take a look anyway.

The text:

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.

If you think it’s ridiculous that we need to clarify that the military cannot be forcibly housed in our two-bedroom-one-and-a-half-bath, you’d be right!  You would also owe your entitlement to your own home to the Framers and the third amendment.  Our off-handed dismissal of the third is a privilege awarded to us by the Founders that did not come from such independent roots.

While under British rule, the American colonies were required by the Quartering Acts to foot the bill of the King’s soldiers including lodging; even in their private homes.  Nothing sounds quite so uncomfortable as fighting the man only to have to greet him over coffee while still in your pajamas.  Thus, the third amendment was born and ne’er did we ever worry again that we’d have to share our Eggo waffles unless we really wanted to.

It seems irrelevant now, but don’t write the third off so quickly.  Most commonly, the third amendment is referenced now as proof of American’s right to privacy, which is nothing to scoff at.  This amendment, directly or indirectly, indicates that the homes of U.S. Citizens are not the domain of the government.  Arguably, the third amendment shows favor for civilians over the military and, in an age where the police force looks progressively more like the Navy Seals, it is vital to know that our constitution is on our side.

I am not one to reiterate what has already been said, especially when it’s been said by brilliant women, so I’ll direct you to Caroline Kennedy and Ellen Aderman’s book Right To Privacy.  It’s an incredible read and vital information for a time that’s becoming increasingly authoritative.

Oh, also, I made a thing.  Mac, out.

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