*Cushing's Manuals
*Henry Martyn Robert
*History of Parliamentary Procedure
*Smedley's HMR biographies
*More on Henry M. Robert

Every month, we discuss parliamentary issues and study the workbook from the National Association of Parliamentarians. Members take turns conducting an educational feature from a chapter or section from RONR and delivering a half-hour presentation on the material.

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August 2017
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Jackie Atwood
Ed Bialon
Laura Dominguez
Hilary Guizlo
Shirley Harlan
Raquel Matamoros
Bonnie McFarland
Jennifer Nickel
Nancy Sappington
Bob Palmer
Marjorie Benesh
Jack Nelson
vice president:
Darrell Zeller
Bob Palmer

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National Association of Parliamentarians

Robert's Rules Online

Henry Martyn Robert
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Both of these pictures are from Ralph Smedley's biography of General Robert
The Great Peacemaker (Borden Publishing 1955).

[All of this biographical information was found in the preface pages of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised]

Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923), author of Robert’s Rules of Order, was a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War.

In 1863, then only a lieutenant, Robert was asked to chair a local town meeting at a church in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
He didn’t know how to preside and assumed the assembly would behave itself. The meeting was a disaster. It lasted some
14 hours and accomplished next to nothing. Very frustrated, General Robert vowed never again to attend another meeting
until he knew something of Parliamentary Law, a subject in which he had always been interested.

Later researching a small book on the subject, he found some rules for DELIBERATIVE ASSEMBLIES which had four or five motions
according to rank, two or three that could not be debated, and some that could not be amended. As he traveled around the
country gathering Parliamentary
information along the way, he saw several interpretations of Parliamentary Law in various organizations and
“saw the need for a uniform set of rules to enable civic minded people to belong to several organizations or to move to new
localities without encountering different parliamentary rules.”

By 1869, he produced a sixteen page pamphlet of parliamentary rules for lay assemblies and wrote Part 1 based on the
Senate/House of Representatives model (mostly patterned after the House). In 1875, his wife urged him to write Part 2
for the benefit of persons with
no experience in meetings.”
He finally had these parts published separately in 1876. Both sold extremely well, and he was
well on his way to refining the parliamentary rules for DELIBERATIVE ASSEMBLIES that we know today as Robert’s Rules of Order.

Before he died in 1923, he accomplished the major groundwork for establishing the order, rules, and procedures of meetings.
He identified the types of motions (main, subsidiary, privileged, incidental) and clarified their order of importance. He wrote
Rules of Chairmanship,
listed on charts what is debatable and is not, noted which motions require a second and which don't. He determined what sort of
majority is needed (simple or 2/3),
defined a quorum, and set-up guidelines for proper meeting conduct. His main goal was to ensure that Parliamentary Rules would be
standard from group to group, organization to organization, city to city, state to state.

Direct quote from pages XLIV and XLV closing paragraph from RONR 10th ed.:
“General Robert was aware of the evolution of parliamentary procedure from consensus in its original sense of
“unanimous agreement” toward a decision by a majority as we know it today. He recognized that requiring unanimity or near
unanimity can become a form of tyranny itself. Robert saw, on the other hand, that the evolution of majority vote in tandem
with lucid and clarifying debate---resulting in a decision representing the view of the deliberate majority---far more clearly
ferrets out and demonstrates the
will of an assembly. It is through the application of genuine persuasion and parliamentary technique that General Robert
was able to achieve decisions
in meetings he led which were so free of divisiveness within the group.”

Robert’s Rules of Order Publications

[All editions were worked on by General Henry M. Robert himself or a relative or a spouse of a relative, so editorial control
and parliamentary input has stayed in the family.]

1876 first edition had mostly Part I in it, 3,000 copies sold out within four months (1,000 copies were given away).

1876 second edition had Part II adding a Table of Rules Relating to Motions, Order of Conduct of Business.

1893 third edition, added 26 pages of text.

1915 Robert’s Rules of Order Revised expanded the 1893 edition by 75%.

1943 5th edition

1951 75th Anniversary edition

1970 Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR). More work went into this edition than all six previous editions combined.

1981 8th edition. This was the edition that came out in paperback in 1984.

1990 9th edition

2000 10th edition

2012 11th edition with 120 new changes from the 10th edition

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