Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 690, September 30, 2012

"Exactly like you, I have been a slave to the state
all my life, and I won't vote to let it continue."

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The Fourth Article of the Bill of Rights Series
The 3rd Amendment

by Neale Osborn and BD Styers

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

This article is also viewable with slightly different title at [THIS LINK]
This is the fourth article in the series. Remember, neither BD nor I claim to be Constitutional scholars. Our goal with this series is to define the Bill of Rights IN THE TERMS USED IN THE DAYS THEY WERE WRITTEN. As we all know, words change meanings over the years. The "Gay Nineties" were not known for homosexuality, but for good times. A "faggot" used to be a bundle of sticks for the fire. Not anymore. So it is important to know the Amendments as written in the terms of their day, not as the words of today might imply. So, as in the last article, we shall first present the Amendment, then define any words whose definitions have morphed over the years into other meanings. Finally, we will present our "common man's viewpoint" on what it means in relation to laws today. And as always, regular print is my contribution, italics is BD Styers' contribution. BD shall have moderator powers here, simply by asking. PLEASE follow the CoH, as outlined in the first comment. In this case, BD supplied the blockquotes. Let's face it, this one is a cakewalk compared to the rest!

So first, we present the amendment in full:

The Bill of Rights

Amendment 3

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.

Only one word might need the definition provided.

Quarter (v) to furnish with lodging in a particular place (Source) Definition #34

The following is from!/amendments/3/essays/143/quartering-of-troops

The Third Amendment combines a straightforward 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.

It is pretty simple. The government cannot force civillians to provide housing for soldiers in the homes of the civillians during peacetime. During times of war, if approved by legislation, it is permissible. And I can't think of a case of this being broken today. I HAVE heard of landlords trying to use it to justify evicting soldiers who are living off-base in rented apartments, but if the landlord signed the lease and is getting paid rent by the soldier, the landlord has NO leg to stand on. This is one of the most straightforward examples of governmental legalese I have seen.

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