Origin of the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

If you read our history prior to the American Revolution, after the Seven Years War, interest in becoming an independent nation began to rise.  What spurred the desire to rebel was the English Parliament passing laws on English citizens who were not represented in Parliament.  This was in direct violation of the English constitution which prohibited the crown from imposing any taxes the crown wanted unless they were approved by Parliament that included those who were affected by the new laws.

To American citizens familiar with our form of government, it sounds relatively benign, but in the Thirteen Colonies in 1775 reality was far different than theory.

King George III was between the rock and the hard place.  He needed a standing army and navy to keep the empire intact and expand it if possible.  This required a large standing army and navy and the money to pay for it. Maintaining a large standing army stationed in Britain was extremely unpopular to say nothing of expensive.

By the end of the Seven Years War in 1765, England had been at war with her European neighbors war over 16% (116 years) since 1066 until the 1775 when the American Revolution started.  One by one, the other countries – The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Spain – gave up fighting the British.  At the end of the Seven Years War only France was left as a major colonial power who could attempt to compete with England which was deeply in debt.

Keeping the citizens of the Thirteen Colonies loyal was a strategic imperative of King George III.  Their loyalty was important to maintaining England’s global empire and the source of its immense wealth.

King George’s answer was to a plan to station 10,000 troops in the Thirteen Colonies and use a series of taxes to pay for their support.  The Sugar Act of 1763 and the Stamp Act of 1765 are just two.  To reduce the housing costs, the King decreed British soldiers would be quartered in homes throughout the colonies with the consent of the homeowner.

Neither Parliament nor King George III realized the furor that these actions caused.  The colonists considered themselves to be English citizens and the actions of the King and Parliament lit the fire that ultimately became the American Revolution.

You can see the post-revolution response in to quartering troops in the Third Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  King George III’s plan to house British soldiers in the homes of British citizens (our forefathers) in the Thirteen Colonies was so reprehensible to the Founding Fathers that they wrote the Third Amendment.  It specifically prohibits the quartering of soldiers in an individual’s home without the owner’s consent.

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