PLAN FOR STUDY OF PARLIAMENTARY LAW
These Lesson Outlines are designed to assist clubs and individual students
who wish to study Robert's Rules of Order Revised. The Manual is not arranged
primarily with a view to study, but for the special object of providing a set of
rules for adoption by city councils, corporations, literary societies, clubs,
assemblies, and occasional meetings. In studying it the preferable way is to
learn the few elementary things that one must know in order to take the
slightest part in a deliberative meeting and then to learn how with ease to use
this Manual to find the correct ruling or decision on any point that may arise.
When one has accomplished this, which is covered by the first four lessons
outlines below he is prepared to study in detail any portion of the Manual, and
in any order that may suit him.
In these Lesson Outlines the four introductory lessons are followed by the
all-important subject of Amendments, to which an entire lesson is given. This
lesson should be thoroughly mastered, as the subject of amendments is probably
equal in difficulty and importance to all the rest of parliamentary law.
After Amendments, the order of the subjects in the Manual is followed in the
Lesson Outlines with the following exceptions: Incidental Motions are not taken
up until all the other motions are disposed of; the Orders of the Day are
treated in connection with the motions to Postpone Definitely and Indefinitely,
because they are so intimately connected, the Orders of the Day being made by
postponing to a certain time or by adopting a program; the subject of Committees
is treated in connection with the motion to Commit; and to Take from the Table
is treated in connection with to Lay on the Table.
The Rules of Order is essentially a work of reference, and the student
should keep this in view. He should aim at learning how to find a ruling
quickly, rather than at remembering the ruling. On this account each student
should always have his copy of the book with him at every meeting and
familiarize himself with its use. Efficiency, however, as a parliamentarian is
acquired only by practice. "Book knowledge" is valuable just as with
games and athletics, but just as no amount of theoretical knowledge without
practice will enable a man to excel in playing chess or in swimming, so no
amount of theoretical knowledge of parliamentary law without practice will make
a man a good practical parliamentarian.
If the student has the advantage of being a member of a class, the teacher
will, doubtless, use parliamentary drills. If he has no teacher, he should study
the Manual as laid down in the Lesson Outlines, and try to interest others to
join him in forming a practice club. This practice club should hold frequent
meetings, thus giving an opportunity for putting into practice what has been
learned. The officers should be constantly changed so as to give different
members the opportunity to preside.
These practice meetings should begin at least as soon as the students have
learned what is covered by the first four lessons as outlined further on. At the
beginning of each meeting it would be profitable to call for criticisms of the
previous meeting. This would encourage the members after each meeting to
investigate all doubtful mistakes that otherwise would be overlooked.
What has just been said in reference to the importance of practice meetings
or drills in parliamentary law applies equally to clubs or societies, as only a
few of the simplest rules are usually called for in an ordinary meeting. When
the club cannot have a suitable teacher, it can carry on the work by electing a
member to take charge of the parliamentary drills. This leader should study the
course so as to be able to take the place of a teacher.
It will probably be best in all cases to follow the order of the first four
lessons, and perhaps the fifth also. But where the time for the meeting is
short, it may be advisable to increase the number of lessons. After the fifth
lesson circumstances may make it advisable to select only a few out of the
remaining lessons and omit the others, or to divide some of the lessons. The
outlines as given will serve as a basis for a scheme of lessons adapted to the
special conditions in each case.
All through the course there should constantly be drills with open books, to
enable the students to acquire facility in referring to a desired point, since,
as previously stated, this Manual is a work of reference.
I. Organizing and Conducting Business in Mass Meetings and Permanent
|Offering, Amending, and Adopting Resolutions
|Committee on Resolutions
|Permanent Society, 1st Meeting
|Permanent Society, 2nd Meeting
|Permanent Society, Regular Meeting
|Obtaining the Floor, etc.
|Preparing, Making, and Seconding Motions and Resolutions
II. Debate, Stating and Putting Questions, and What Motions to Use to
Accomplish Certain Objects.
|Stating the Question
|Putting the Question and Announcing the Vote
|What Motions to Use to Accomplish Certain Object
[The form of making each of these motions should be explained by the leader
III. How to Find if a Motion is in Order, if it can be Debated, Amended, or
Reconsidered, and if it Requires a Second, or a 2/3 Vote, etc.
|Order of Precedence of Motions
|Table of Rules Relating to Motions
[The Order of Precedence of Motions, should be memorized, and the student
should be able by reference to the Table of Rules to find quickly the ruling on
any of the 300 questions decided by it.]
IV. Definitions, and How to Find Rulings in the Manual.
|Plan of the Manual
|Plan of the Index
Practice in the Use of the Entire Manual for finding Rulings or Decisions.
|Inserting or adding, striking out, and striking out and inserting words
|Amendments affecting an entire paragraph
|Motions that cannot be Amended
VI. Classification of Motions and Most of the Privileged Ones.
|Certain Other Motions
|Fix the Time to which to Adjourn
|Take a Recess
|Questions of Privilege
VII. Orders of the Day, and Definite and Indefinite Postponement.
|Postpone Definitely or to a Certain Time
|Call for the Orders of the Day
|General and Special Orders
VIII. Laying Aside a Question Temporarily, Resuming its Consideration, and
Closing and Limiting Debate
|Lay on the Table
|Take from the Table
|Limit or Extend Limits of Debate
IX. The Motion to Commit, and Committees.
|Special and Standing Committees
|Form of their Reports
|Form of Minority Report
X. Committees (Concluded).
|Reception of Committees' Reports
|Adoption of Committees' Reports
|Committee of the Whole
|As if in Committee of the Whole
|Boards of Managers, etc., and Executive Committees
|Ex-Officio Members of Boards and Committees
XI. Reconsidering and Rescinding a Vote.
XII. Some Miscellaneous and Incidental Motions.
|Dilatory and Absurd Motions
|Questions of Order
|Suspension of the Rules
XIII. Incidental Motions (Concluded).
|Objection to the Consideration of a Question
|Division of a Question
|Consideration by Paragraph or Seriatim
|Division of the Assembly and Other Motions relating to Voting and the Polls
|Motions relating to Methods of Making and to Closing and to reopening
|Request for Information
|To Withdraw or Modify a Motion
|To Read Papers
|To be Excused from a Duty
|Request for any other Privilege
|Decorum in Debate
|Closing and Preventing Debate
|Principles of Debate
|Motions that Open the Main Question to Debate
|Announcing the Vote
|Voting by Ballot
|Voting by Yeas and Nays
|Voting by Mail
|Voting by Proxy
|Votes that are Null and Void even if Unanimous
|Motions requiring More than a Majority Vote
XVI. The Officers and the Minutes.
|Chairman or President
|Hints to Inexperienced Chairmen
|Secretary or Clerk
XVII. Nominations and Elections, and Miscellaneous
|Order of Business
|Nominations and Elections
[As the officers are usually elected by ballot that method of voting
[46:11-16] should be reviewed in connection with this lesson. The incidental
motions relating to the methods of making nominations and taking the vote and of
closing and reopening nominations and the polls [25,26] should also be reviewed
in connection with this lesson.]
XVIII. Rules of an Assembly and their Amendments.
|Rules of Order
|Standing Rules and their Amendment
|Amendment of Constitutions
|Amending a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution, etc
|Review Use of Tables