By using mnemonics I memorized the basic meaning of each amendment to the constitution during my vacation week last week. I am going strictly by memory using tricks (like “no drinking at 18″,”you can drink at 21”, “in coming senators with wine and women” for (16-19)
1. Freedom of Religion, Assembly, Petition, Press, Opinion, and Speech
2. The freedom to bear arms
3. No military in your home except in war time.
4. No unreasonable searches
5. The right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself
6. The right to a speedy and public trial
7. The right to a jury trial in civil matters of $20 and over.
8. The right to fair fines and bail. No cruel and unusual punishment
9. Individual Rights. Rights that are not in the constitution are still rights given to citizens.
10. State Rights. Any right not given in the constitution is given to the states to legislate.
11. You cannot sue another state except with permission by that state’s judicial system.
12. The electoral college must have two separate elections for president and vice president
13. Emancipation. All slaves are free.
14. Foreign born citizens can vote
15. All men get the right to vote – including ex-slaves
16. The Federal Income Tax is established
17. The people elect their own US senators
18. Alcohol is prohibited
19. Women get the right to vote
20. January 20th is the day that a new president takes office
21. It is no longer illegal to drink Alcohol. The 18th amendment is struck down.
22. A president can only have 2 terms in office.
23. Washington DC can vote for the president
24. You may not charge people money so that they can register to vote.
25. Lays down the rules for who becomes president if the president dies/resigns etc.
26. You can vote at the age of 18.
27. Congressmen cannot vote to give themselves a raise in the same term.
Update: The book I used to memorize the gist of the 27 amendments is Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge The Book of Mnemonic Devices How to Remember All the Stuff You Ever Wanted to Know by Rod L Evans, Ph.D. – To The Moon highly recommends this book. For example: The Second Amendment – the Right 2 bear arms, not the right to arm bears.