Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > Introduction. > Plan of the Work.

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.


These Rules are prepared to meet partially this want in deliberative assemblies that are not legislative in their character. They have been made sufficiently complete to answer for the rules of an assembly until it sees fit to adopt special rules conflicting with and superseding any of the rules of detail, such as the Order of Business, etc. They are based upon the rules and practice of Congress so far as these are adapted to ordinary deliberative assemblies with short sessions and comparatively small quorums, as has just been explained. In cases where these Rules differ from the practice of Congress, usually the congressional rule will be found in a foot note. The foot notes need not be referred to for any other purpose than to ascertain the practice of Congress.   1
  This Manual contains a Table of Contents, Table of Rules, Part I, Part II, Lesson Outlines, and the Index.   2
  Table of Contents. This gives a clear, systematic idea of the arrangement of subjects treated in the Manual.   3
  Order of Precedence of Motions and Table of Rules. A careful study of these tables so as to be able to use them quickly will enable any one in an emergency to ascertain whether a motion is in order, and whether it may be debated, or amended, or reconsidered, or requires a second, or a two-thirds vote, or is in order when another member has the floor.   4
  Part I, comprising the main part of the Manual, contains a set of Rules of Order systematically arranged, as shown in the Table of Contents. It begins with showing how business is introduced in a deliberative assembly, and then follows it step by step until the vote is taken and announced. The next section, 10, shows what is the proper motion to use to accomplish certain objects, referring at the same time to the section where the motion will be found fully treated. Next, the motions are classified as usual into Privileged, Incidental, Subsidiary, and Main, and the general characteristics of each class given.   5
  Then each class is taken up in order, beginning with the highest privileged motion, and a section is devoted to each motion, including some motions that are not classified. Each of these twenty-six sections is complete in itself, so that one unfamiliar with the work need not be misled in examining any particular subject. Cross-references, in heavy-face type, are used wherever it was thought they would be helpful, the references being to sections, the number of the section being placed at the top of each page. The following is stated in reference to each motion, except some of the incidental ones, the first six points being mentioned at the beginning of each section:   6
  (1) Of what motions it takes precedence (that is, what motions may be pending and yet it be in order to make and consider this motion).   7
  (2) To what motions it yields (that is, what motions may be made and considered while this motion is pending).   8
  (3) Whether it is debatable or not (all motions being debatable unless the contrary is stated).   9
  (4) Whether it can be amended or not.   10
  (5) In case the motion can have no subsidiary motion applied to it, the fact is stated [see Adjourn, 17, for an example: the meaning is, that the particular motion, to adjourn, cannot be laid on the table, postponed, committed, or amended, &c.].   11
  (6) The vote required for its adoption, when it is not a majority.   12
  (7) The form of making the motion when peculiar.   13
  (8) The form of stating and putting the question when peculiar.   14
  (9) The object of the motion when not apparent.   15
  (10) The effect of the motion if adopted, whenever it could possibly be misunderstood.   16
  Part II contains an explanation of the methods of organizing and conducting different kinds of meetings, giving the words used by the chairman and speakers in making and putting various motions; and also a few pages devoted to the legal rights of deliberative assemblies and ecclesiastical tribunals, and to the trial of members of such societies. The beginner, especially, will find it useful to read sections 69 -- 71 in connection with sections 1 -- 10, thus obtaining correct ideas as to the methods of conducting business in deliberative assemblies.   17
  The Plan for the Study of Parliamentary Law, pages 305 -- 312, gives some helpful suggestions to clubs and individuals wishing to study parliamentary law, together with a series of eighteen Lesson Outlines.   18
  The Index refers to pages, not sections, and at the beginning are given some suggestions as to the best method of finding anything in these Rules.   19


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