Third Amendment: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

In America today, people have the right to decide who stays in their home; however, this was not always the case. An important law was passed that protected this right. In this lesson, you will learn about the Third Amendment to the US Constitution.

My House Is Not A Hotel

Have you ever had guests that stayed too long? Maybe you had to sleep on the couch so your guests could use your room, or they ate all your favorite cereal. Whatever happened, you probably just wanted them to leave!

Early Americans didn't want any unwelcome house guests either, so they passed the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution. The United States Constitution is a document that was written to organize the government and establish its basic jobs. It's kind of like a rule book for the government.

The first 10 amendments, or additions and changes, to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights and list additional rules that protect the rights of citizens. The Third Amendment is included in the Bill of Rights.

The Third Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights.
bill of rights

The Third Amendment to the Constitution was introduced by James Madison and approved by 3/4 of the states on December 15, 1791. The exact wording of the Third Amendment reads:

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 manner to be prescribed by law.

This amendment means that no solider can be quartered, or be placed to live in, people's homes without their permission. For example, if soldiers came to your home, they could only live there if you gave them permission.

Soldiers cannot live in home without permission.
welcome mat

History Established A Need

Although having a soldier living with you may seem strange today, there was a time in history where this amendment was important to American families.

Before the United States became its own nation, the American Colonies were ruled by Great Britain. In 1765, the British government passed the Quartering Act, which required the colonies to pay for buildings to house British soldiers or allow them to live in the colonists' homes. The colonists were also required to provide the British soldiers with food and other items. Imagine if your home became a hotel for soldiers!

The colonists didn't like the Quartering Act and began to question whether quartering British soldiers was fair. Some colonists were forced to house multiple soldiers at one time. This meant their own family had to cram into a smaller space. Feeding the soldiers took away from the families' food supplies, and the British soldiers could treat the family however they wanted.

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