Podcasts | Constitutionally Speaking

Episode 33: No Quarter: Understanding the Third Amendment

British troops march up Bunker Hill (Wikimedia )

In this week’s episode, Jay and Luke dig into the most successful, and therefore least controversial, of the the ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights: the prohibition on quartering soldiers. But there’s a lot more to the Third Amendment than meets the eye. Most striking to today’s reader, it embodies a skepticism of armies with deep historical roots in the 30 Years War, Cromwell’s New Model Army, and most immediately the British Occupation of Boston. Beyond historical experience, however, anti-army sentiment came with a rich ideological pedigree, rooted in classical republican ideas of citizenship, humanist, and Enlightenment ideas about the causes and consequences of war, and of course a general hostility to monarchy. Yet in ratifying the Third Amendment, Congress also set a pattern for civil-military relations that survives to this day. Why has the army been a major driver of economic development and social change? The Third Amendment is a major reason. Listen to find out why.

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