This is part three in our Bill of Rights education series. Check out the introduction and Part Two here!

War and Peace

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.

This amendment was written, because the King was sending soldiers in to spy on people in their own home! During the time leading up to the American Revolution, the British Parliament needed to shelter their troops as they fought in the French and Indian War. So, the Crown did what is typical of a tyrannical government and enacted the Quartering Acts of 1765. This Act stated that stables, inns, and taverns were forced to house troops at the discretion of a British officer. When rumors started to spread that the Colonists were plotting to rebel against the Crown, the Quartering Act worked in favor of the British. If the British had even the faintest notion that a certain household was aiding the cause of the revolution, military officers would send a soldier to act as a spy. The soldier would seek shelter in the home and listen in to see if the family was loyal to the Crown or planned to separate with the handful of brave Colonists leading the charge for liberty. The 3rd Amendment is one that is rarely given even the slightest attention; it is, however, no less important when it comes to our God-given rights. In America, today, we see this amendment as outdated and no longer needed, but the Founders ensured a safeguard that would protect the citizenry from a despotic government rising again.

Search and Seizure

Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.

The 4th Amendment is very clear in its intent. The phrase “shall not be violated” is clear in its aim. You cannot seize property from people who are only suspected of committing a crime. When you think of the 4th Amendment on TV, it is usually a police-drama series where the police need a warrant to search a suspected criminal’s home, right? Well, what if someone accused you or one of your family members of a crime that you didn’t commit? Based only on speculation, you could have your bank account drained, car seized, and your home taken away from you. If you look at cases of these actions being done illegally, you will find that the parties affected have a considerably tough time getting their property back. The 4th Amendment is what protects you from this sort of invasion.

Knowledge is Power

Even though culture and technology may evolve or change over time, our rights never will. When we arm ourselves with the knowledge of our Constitution and what the Bill of Rights gives us, we get to define the direction that our country moves in. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” What a great thought! If we invest in knowledge and pursue truth, there is no one that can ever take it from us.

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