Quartering of troops in private houses, except in cases of military necessity, has long been regarded as contrary to British political traditions. Illegal quartering figured in important controversies between the king and the people, and it was condemned in the PETITION OF RIGHT (1628) and the English BILL OF RIGHTS (1689).
The British government sent regular troops to America in 1765 to discourage resistance to parliamentary taxation. Parliament, in the Quartering Act, required that the soldiers be housed at the expense of the province to which they were sent, and provided that, if existing barracks were insufficient, private buildings would be commandeered for the purpose. This measure was one of the specific grievances cited in the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
During the debates over RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION several state conventions suggested a prohibition against quartering of troops. It was among JAMES MADISON ' s original proposals for the BILL OF RIGHTS, and the First Congress approved it unanimously and virtually without change. The...