Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union; the time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
March 25 • Maryland–Virginia conference convenes Initially scheduled to assemble in Alexandria, Virginia on March 21, delegates representing the states of Maryland and Virginia gather at Mount Vernon, the Fairfax County home of George Washington, to address navigational rights in the states' common waterways. Attending what became known as the Mount Vernon Conference were: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Thomas Stone, Samuel Chase, from Maryland. March 28 • Maryland–Virginia conference concludes Delegates approve a thirteen-point agreement known as the Mount Vernon Compact, regulating commerce and navigation in the waters of the Potomac and Pocomoke Rivers, Chesapeake Bay; the agreement was subsequently ratified by both the Virginia and Maryland General Assemblies, becoming the nation's first interstate compact. January 21 • Conference to address certain defects of the federal government called Virginia General Assembly calls for an interstate convention for the purpose of discussing and developing a consensus about reversing the protectionist trade and commerce barriers existing between the various states.
September 11 • Annapolis Convention convenes Delegates representing Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Virginia meet at George Mann's Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss ways to facilitate commerce between the states and establish standard rules and regulations. Appointed delegates from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island either arrived too late to participate or otherwise did not attend. Four states: Connecticut, Georgia and South Carolina, did not appoint delegates. September 14 • Annapolis Convention adjourns The convention report, sent to Congress and the legislatures of the various states, contains a request that another convention be held the following May at Philadelphia to discuss amending the Articles of Confederation. November 23 • New Jersey elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. David Brearley, Jonathan Dayton, William Houston, William Livingston, William Paterson will attend. December 4 • Virginia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention.
John Blair Jr. James Madison, George Mason, James McClurg, Edmund Randolph, George Washington, George Wythe will attend. December 30 • Pennsylvania elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. George Clymer, Thomas FitzSimons, Benjamin Franklin, Jared Ingersoll, Thomas Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, James Wilson will attend. January 6 • North Carolina elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. William Blount, William Richardson Davie, Alexander Martin, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson will attend. January 17 • New Hampshire elects delegates to the proposed Philadelphia Convention. Nicholas Gilman and John Langdon will attend. February 3 • Delaware elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford, Jr. Jacob Broom, John Dickinson, George Read will attend. February 10 • Georgia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Abraham Baldwin, William Few, William Houstoun, William Pierce will attend.
February 21 • Convention to discuss revisions to the Articles of Confederation called The Congress of the Confederation calls a constitutional convention "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein and when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union". March 3 • Massachusetts elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King, Caleb Strong will attend. March 6 • New York elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Alexander Hamilton, John Lansing, Jr. and Robert Yates will attend. March 8 • South Carolina elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Pierce Butler, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, John Rutledge will attend. April 23 • Maryland elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention.
Daniel Carroll, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Luther Martin, James McHenry, John Mercer will attend. May 5 • A motion to send delegates to the constitutional convention fails in the Rhode Island General Assembly. May 14 • Constitutional Convention scheduled to begin As only a small number of delegates have arrived in Philadelphia, the convention's opening meeting is postponed for lack of a quorum. May 14 • Connecticut elects delegates to the constitutional convention. Oliver Ellsworth, William
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Arguably one of the most consequential amendments to this day, the amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War; the amendment was bitterly contested by the states of the defeated Confederacy, which were forced to ratify it in order to regain representation in Congress. The amendment its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education regarding racial segregation, Roe v. Wade regarding abortion, Bush v. Gore regarding the 2000 presidential election, Obergefell v. Hodges regarding same-sex marriage; the amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, including those acting on behalf of such an official. The amendment's first section includes several clauses: the Citizenship Clause, Privileges or Immunities Clause, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause.
The Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship, nullifying the Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which had held that Americans descended from African slaves could not be citizens of the United States. Since the Slaughter-House Cases, the Privileges or Immunities Clause has been interpreted to do little; the Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without a fair procedure. The Supreme Court has ruled this clause makes most of the Bill of Rights as applicable to the states as it is to the federal government, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy; the Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people, including all non-citizens, within its jurisdiction. This clause has been the basis for many decisions rejecting irrational or unnecessary discrimination against people belonging to various groups.
The second and fourth sections of the amendment are litigated. However, the second section's reference to "rebellion, or other crime" has been invoked as a constitutional ground for felony disenfranchisement; the fourth section was held, in Perry v. United States, to prohibit a current Congress from abrogating a contract of debt incurred by a prior Congress; the fifth section gives Congress the power to enforce the amendment's provisions by "appropriate legislation". Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed, but when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, having taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, but Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. Section 4; the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern States; because the full population of fre
Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution extends the right to vote in presidential elections to citizens residing in the District of Columbia. The amendment grants the district electors in the Electoral College as though it were a state, though the district can never have more electors than the least-populous state; the Twenty-third amendment was proposed by the 86th Congress on June 16, 1960, was ratified by the requisite number of states on March 29, 1961. The Constitution provides that each state receives presidential electors equal to the combined number of seats it has in the Senate and the House of Representatives; as the District of Columbia is not a state, it was not entitled to any electors prior to the adoption of the Twenty-third Amendment. As early as 1888, some journalists and members of Congress favored a constitutional amendment to grant the district electoral votes, but such an amendment did not win widespread support until the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.
The amendment was not seen as a partisan measure, ratification of the amendment was endorsed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and both major party candidates in the 1960 presidential election; the ratification of the amendment made the district the only entity other than the states to have any representation in the Electoral College. The first presidential election in which the District of Columbia participated was the election of 1964. Since the passage of Twenty-third Amendment, all but one of the district's electoral votes have been cast for the Democratic Party's presidential candidates; the Twenty-third Amendment did not grant the district voting rights in Congress, nor did it grant the district home rule. Many citizens of the district favor statehood or further constitutional amendments to address these issues. Section 1; the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution's rules for the composition of the House of Representatives and the Senate explicitly grant seats to states and no other entities. Electors to the Electoral College are apportioned to states, not to territories or the federal district; the main reference to the federal district is in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which gives Congress the power "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District as may, by Cession of particular States, the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States." In the early existence of the District, it was too small and rural to merit a hypothetical seat in the House of Representatives anyway, with fewer than 30,000 inhabitants. In 1888, a bill to amend the Constitution was introduced in Congress by Senator Henry Blair of New Hampshire to grant District of Columbia voting rights in presidential elections, but it did not proceed.
Theodore W. Noyes, a writer of the Washington Evening Star, published a number of stories in support of D. C. voting rights. Noyes helped found the Citizens' Joint Committee on National Representation for the District of Columbia, a citizen's group which lobbied Congress to pass an amendment expanding D. C. voting rights. Noyes died in 1946, but the Citizens' Joint Committee continued onward, the issue of District voting rights began to be seen as similar to the civil rights movement. A split developed between advocates for greater power for the District after World War II; the Evening Star, continuing in the Noyes mold, supported D. C. representation in Congress and the electoral college, but opposed "home rule". The Washington Post, supported "home rule" and civil rights, but opposed full-fledged representation for the District. Additionally, while many of the people leading the push were liberal Democrats, the District of Columbia in the 1950s was balanced in its potential voting impact. Thus, an amendment to grant the District increased voting powers was able to gain bipartisan support in a way that would have been more difficult later.
Only 28% of the District was African-American according to the 1940 census, the black population was young compared to other residents, making the voting electorate smaller due to the voting age of 21. This grew to 54% in the 1960 census, but according to political scientist Clement E. Vose, "various factors—inexperience in voting, educational handicaps, residency requirements, welfare laws, social ostracism before the Voting Rights Act of 1965—minimized black registration and voting". Senate Joint Resolution–39, which would become the Twenty-third Amendment, was introduced in 1959 by Tennessee Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver, his proposal would provide for the emergency functioning of Congress and continuity of the legislative process by authorizing governors to fill vaca
Article Five of the United States Constitution
Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Under Article V, the process to alter the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments, subsequent ratification. Amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states; the vote of each state carries equal weight, regardless of a state's population or length of time in the Union. Article V is silent regarding deadlines for the ratification of proposed amendments, but most amendments proposed since 1917 have included a deadline for ratification. Legal scholars agree that the amending process of Article V can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V, but there is some disagreement over whether Article V is the exclusive means of amending the Constitution.
In addition to defining the procedures for altering the Constitution, Article V shields three clauses in Article I from ordinary amendment by attaching stipulations. Regarding two of the clauses—one concerning importation of slaves and the other apportionment of direct taxes—the prohibition on amendment was absolute but of limited duration, expiring in 1808. Scholars disagree as to whether this shielded clause can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V; the Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.
Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been approved by the Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Twenty-seven of these amendments are now part of the Constitution; the first ten amendments were adopted and ratified and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states and are not part of the Constitution. Four of these amendments are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. All totaled 11,539 measures to amend the Constitution have been proposed in Congress since 1789. Article V provides two methods for amending the nation's frame of government; the first method authorizes Congress, "whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary", to propose Constitutional amendments. The second method requires Congress, "on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states", to "call a convention for proposing amendments".
This duality in Article V is the result of compromises made during the 1787 Constitutional Convention between two groups, one maintaining that the national legislature should have no role in the constitutional amendment process, another contending that proposals to amend the constitution should originate in the national legislature and their ratification should be decided by state legislatures or state conventions. Regarding the consensus amendment process crafted during the convention, James Madison declared: It guards against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable, it moreover enables the General and the State Governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other. Each time the Article V process has been initiated since 1789, the first method for crafting and proposing amendments has been used. All 33 amendments submitted to the states for ratification originated in the Congress; the second method, the convention option, a political tool which Alexander Hamilton argued would enable state legislatures to "erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority", has yet to be invoked.
When the 1st Congress considered a series of constitutional amendments, it was suggested that the two houses first adopt a resolution indicating that they deemed amendments necessary. This procedure was not used. Instead, both the House and the Senate proceeded directly to consideration of a joint resolution, thereby implying that both bodies deemed amendments to be necessary; when proposed by James Madison, the amendments were d
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. In the 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time that the right belongs to individuals for self-defense in the home, while including, as dicta, that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the existence of certain long-standing prohibitions such as those forbidding "the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill" or restrictions on "the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons." State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right. The Second Amendment was based on the right to keep and bear arms in English common law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense and resistance to oppression, the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.
While both James Monroe and John Adams supported the Constitution being ratified, its most influential framer was James Madison. In Federalist No. 46, Madison wrote how a federal army could be kept in check by state militias, "a standing army... would be opposed a militia." He argued that state militias "would be able to repel the danger" of a federal army, "It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops." He contrasted the federal government of the United States to the European kingdoms, which he described as "afraid to trust the people with arms," and assured that "the existence of subordinate governments... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition". By January 1788, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut ratified the Constitution without insisting upon amendments. Several amendments were not adopted at the time the Constitution was ratified. For example, the Pennsylvania convention debated fifteen amendments, one of which concerned the right of the people to be armed, another with the militia.
The Massachusetts convention ratified the Constitution with an attached list of proposed amendments. In the end, the ratification convention was so evenly divided between those for and against the Constitution that the federalists agreed to the Bill of Rights to assure ratification. In United States v. Cruikshank, the Supreme Court ruled that, "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; the Second Amendments means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government." In United States v. Miller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment did not protect weapon types not having a "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia."In the twenty-first century, the amendment has been subjected to renewed academic inquiry and judicial interest. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual's right to keep a gun for self-defense.
This was the first time the Court had ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun. In McDonald v. Chicago, the Court clarified that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the Second Amendment against state and local governments. In Caetano v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier rulings that "the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms those that were not in existence at the time of the founding" and that its protection is not limited to "only those weapons useful in warfare." The debate between various organizations regarding gun control and gun rights continues. There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with capitalization or punctuation differences. Differences exist between the drafted and ratified copies, the signed copies on display, various published transcriptions; the importance of these differences has been a source of debate regarding the meaning and interpretation of the amendment regarding the importance of the prefatory clause.
One version was passed by the Congress, a different version was ratified. As passed by the Congress and preserved in the National Archives, with the rest of the original handwritten copy of the Bill of Rights prepared by scribe William Lambert, the amendment says: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed; the amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson as: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The right to bear arms in English history is regarded in English law as a subordinate auxiliary right of the primary rights to personal security, personal liberty, private property. According to Sir William Blackstone, "The... last auxiliary right of the subject... is that of having arms for their, suitable to their condition and degree, such as are allowed by law.
Which is... declared by... statute, is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."The English Bill of Rights of 1689 emerged from a tempestuous period in English politi
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote, it overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified; the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification, it was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
In Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states. At that time, all states denied voting rights to women. While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women's suffrage movement took hold during the Reconstruction era. During this period, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments. Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide or protect a right to vote to women. Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory and Washington Territory.
Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, several held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony and lobbying. There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865. In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were formed in 1869; the NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment; the Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate, he had attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.
Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved f
Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution places restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent, forbidding the practice in peacetime. The amendment is a response to Quartering Acts passed by the British parliament during the buildup to the American Revolutionary War, which had allowed the British Army to lodge soldiers in private residences; the Third Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison as a part of the United States Bill of Rights, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress proposed the amendment to the states on September 28, 1789, by December 15, 1791, the necessary three-quarters of the states had ratified it. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792; the amendment is one of the least controversial of the Constitution and is litigated, with the American Bar Association calling it the "runt piglet" of the U. S. Constitution. To date, it has never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, though it was the basis of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit case Engblom v. Carey.
The amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: 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. In 1765, the British parliament enacted the first of the Quartering Acts, requiring the American colonies to pay the costs of British soldiers serving in the colonies, requiring that if the local barracks provided insufficient space, that the colonists lodge the troops in alehouses and livery stables. After the Boston Tea Party, the Quartering Act of 1774 was enacted. One of the Intolerable Acts that pushed the colonies toward revolution, it authorized British troops to be housed wherever necessary, including in private homes; the quartering of troops was cited as one of the colonists' grievances in the United States Declaration of Independence. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring a stronger chief executive and other changes.
George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties be included. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. Several state conventions proposed a provision against the quartering of troops in private homes.
At the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry stated, "One of our first complaints, under the former government, was the quartering of troops among us. This was one of the principal reasons for dissolving the connection with Great Britain. Here we may have troops in time of peace, they may be billeted in any manner — to tyrannize and crush us." In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments based on state bills of rights and English sources such as the Bill of Rights 1689. Several revisions to the future Third Amendment were proposed in Congress, which chiefly differed in the way in which peace and war were distinguished, whether the executive or the legislature would have the authority to authorize quartering. However, the amendment passed Congress unchanged and by unanimous vote. Congress reduced Madison's proposed twenty amendments to twelve, these were submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789.
By the time the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification, opinions had shifted in both parties. Many Federalists, who had opposed a Bill of Rights, now supported the Bill as a means of silencing the Anti-Federalists' most effective criticism. Many Anti-Federalists, in contrast, now opposed it, realizing that the Bill's adoption would lessen the chances of a second constitutional convention, which they desired. Anti-Federalists such as Richard Henry Lee argued that the Bill left the most objectionable portions of the Constitution, such as the federal judiciary and direct taxation, intact. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey ratified eleven of the twelve amendments, rejecting Article II, which regulated Congressional pay raises. On December 19 and 22 Maryland and North Carolina ratified all twelve amendments. On January 19, 25, 28, 1790 South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware ratified the Bill, though New Hampshire rejected the amendment on Congressional pay raises, Delaware rejected Article I, which regulated the size of the House.
This brought the total of ratifying states to six of the required ten, but the process stalled in other states