mnemonic way to memorize amendments
March 12, 2007 6:44 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a mnemonic device (?) to remember the 27 U.S. Constitutional Amendments? Thanks!
posted by bkpr to Education (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, there's the one from the 1993 film Born Yesterday (screenplay by Douglas McGrath):

1. The first amendment to the Constitution says....freedom of religion, speech, and press. The second part of the first amendment says....peacefully assembly & just say any crazy thing you like
(Assemble and be nice, & just say any crazy think you like! )

2. The second amendment to the Constitution says....right to bear arms
(Here is my gun freeze!)

3. The third amendment to the Constitution says....soldiers get out, please.
(Soldiers get out please )

4. The fourth amendment to the Constitution says....Where’s your warrant, please?
(Whereas your warrant, please?)

5. The fifth amendment to the Constitution says....Don’t rat on yourself?
(Don't rat on yourself)

6. The sixth amendment to the Constitution says....right to a quick trial
(Right to a quick trial)

7. The seventh amendment to the Constitution says....jury trial in civil cases
(Jury trial in civil cases)

8. The eighth amendment to the Constitution says....don’t lock me in dark places
(Don't lock me in dark places!)

9. The ninth amendment to the Constitution says....powers of the people
(Powers of the people)

10. The tenth amendment to the Constitution says....the states have rights too
(States have rights, too!)

11. The eleventh amendment to the Constitution says....suits against states
(Suits against states)

12. The twelfth amendment to the Constitution says....election of the Pres.
(Election of the Pres .)

13. The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution says....slavery is invalid
(Slavery is invalid)

14. The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution says....equal rights for all
(Equal rights for all)

15. The fifteenth amendment to the Constitution says....all races get the ballot
(All races get the ballot)

16. The sixteenth amendment to the Constitution says....Congress can take taxes
(Congress can take taxes)

17. The seventeenth amendment to the Constitution says....we elect Senators too
(We elect Senators, too!)

18. The eighteenth amendment to the Constitution says....alcohol will kill you
(Alcohol will kill you)

19. The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution says....women vote like men do
(Women vote like men do)

20. The twentieth amendment to the Constitution says ....terms of office, Pres. and Congress
(Terms of office, Pres. & Congress)

21. The twenty-first amendment to the Constitution says....we can drink now, WOW!
(We can drink now, WOW!)

22. The twenty-second amendment to the Constitution says....only 2 terms now
(Only two terms now)

23. The twenty-third amendment to the Constitution says....DC’s got the vote
(DC’s got the vote)

24. The twenty-fourth amendment to the Constitution to vote no more
(Pay to vote no more)

25. The twenty-fifth amendment to the Constitution says....If Bill dies, we've got Al.
(If Bill dies, we've got Al)

26. The twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution says....we can die, we can vote
(We can die, we can vote)

27. The twenty-seventh amendment to the Constitution says...Congress wants more money
(Congress wants more money )

Now, obviously 25 needs a change, but you could easily substitute "George" and "Dick" for "Bill" and "Al."
posted by cerebus19 at 7:26 PM on March 12, 2007 [4 favorites]

Oh, sorry. I should've mentioned that this is to be sung to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and that the repeated parts are in parentheses.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2007

I don't know if these are technically mnemonic devices, but they've helped me remember three of the amendments for several years with no effort on my part.

The Prohibition amendments (enactment and then repeal) are 18 and 21, respectively.

Also, the amendment that restricts a President to two terms of office is number 22.
posted by dondiego87 at 7:58 PM on March 12, 2007

Best answer: The Born Yesterday song is pretty good, but I usually use some like dondiego87 (including those he mentioned). Here are the ones I've used (mostly pretty lame):

3 - quartering of soldiers. Would be way more convenient if it were 4 (like 1/4th for quarter, get it?) but just remember it isn't
12 - separate Pres/VP elections - like "1 and 2" jobs in America
13,14,15 - Post-Civil War, in logical sequence: free slaves with 13, make them citizens (and more technical stuff) in 14, then let the new citizens vote in 15
16 - Unfortunately, income tax is due April 15. I guess it's late on the 16th!
17 - Senators' popular election - Senate terms are 6 years, 7-1 = 6, at least trying to memorize that will hammer it into your head...
18 & 21 - as above
20 - Makes Prez term begins Jan 20
22 - as above
23 - "Twenty three, D-C!" - Prez vote for Washington, DC
26 - 18 year old vote. This is complicated, but 2+6=8, 8 reminds me of 18

I'm still looking for easy ways to learn the rest. Some (1st, 2nd, 5th) are pretty ingrained in the popular culture, while others (looking at you, #11) are pretty damn obscure.

Good luck.
posted by SuperNova at 9:33 PM on March 12, 2007

Best answer: ok this is so silly and i cant believe i'm repeating it, but we always remembered the 8th amendment this way - It's protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and in some cannibalistic cultures, if you were convicted of a crime, they ATE you, and that would be cruel and unusual! so thus, Amendment eight is being protected against being ate. um... eaten. ok so its not exactly grammatically correct. it was seventh grade. we were dumb. and who knows where we came up with the idea that in some places, they ate criminals. still, its fifteen years later and i still remember it!
posted by silverstatue at 6:37 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

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