The Third Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is one that arose directly out of the conflict with Britain that resulted in the American Revolution.
Before the Colonies successfully gained their independence, Britain imposed the Quartering Act, which forced American families to take British soldiers into their homes and provide them with room and board.
The British imposed themselves on the private dwellings of families, and often took advantage and abused the extent of this imperialistic provision created by the British. This was evident specifically during the French and Indian War when members of the Britain military would force families into providing them housing and would take quarters in private homes without authorization or permission granted from the owners.
The 3rd Amendment would come into creation as a way to protect these circumstances from occurring again by prohibiting the practice under United States legislation.The Third Amendment explicitly states, “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.” Arising from previous tensions created by the Quartering Act and citizens of the Thirteen Colonies, the Forefathers of the Constitution took it into consideration and barred the practice by law.
At the time, the illegal and forceful quartering of British soldiers was a form of oppression and tyranny by the British Empire, as was deemed an outrage by American citizens. It was even transcribed in the United States Declaration of Independence as one of the grievances against the King. They would view this as an invasion of privacy and trespassing on private property, which was considered unlawful and abusive in the eyes of the Colonialists.
However, it cannot be denied that the 3rd Amendment is one that has outlived its purpose, as far as its application in modern times is concerned. The inclusion of the Third Amendment is directly associated with the time period in which it was written and has not been applied or enforced simply because the necessity has never arisen since then.
The Third Amendment has little, if any, relevance or purpose today. However, in the early 1980s, the Third Amendment was used in a court case regarding the housing of National Guard members that were employed during a strike by New York State correction officers. Many of the correction officers were evicted from their employee housing in order to accommodate the influx of the National Guard.
The matter was brought to trial in the court caseEngblom v. Carey, in which the courts deemed it that such action was protected by the Third Amendment because the National Guard is a military establishment and its members qualify as soldiers. This would be the first and last time the Third Amendment would be employed since the late 1700s.
Even though the Amendment can be considered obsolete, it still is important as a major piece of legislation that existed to oppose tyranny and unjust treatment of American citizens.