History of the Work Robert's Rules of Order

About the history of the work Robert's Rules of Order, information about the guide of laws.


Robert's Rules of Order. "A manual of parliamentary procedure, 1st published in 1876, written by Brig. Gen. Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923) of Robertville, S.C.

"'Where there is no law, but each man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of liberty,' wrote General Robert. His famous Rules were intended to provide a maximum of liberty within a necessary framework of order. The son of a minister, Robert had graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at 20 (he was an acting assistant professor during his senior year), and, after serving all through the Civil War on the Union side, returned to the Academy (1865-1867) to take charge of the department of military engineering. His experience and talents in that field were later put to use when he took part in designing a sea wall 17' high and 71/2 mi. long to protect Galveston from Gulf floods, and a 2 mi. causeway (finished in 1909) to connect that island city with the Texas mainland.

"The 1st edition of the Rules of Order was a modest one, 4,000 copies 'enough to last 2 years,' Robert estimated. That should be ample time, he felt, to test the efficiency of the manual and to produce criticism useful for a revised edition. In 1893 a revised edition appeared, and another in 1915; the 75th-anniversary printing that came out in 1951 is based on the 1915 plates.

"As a guide to the best use of his manual, Robert appended a study outline. Suggesting that classes be formed among an organization's members, he recommended that the simplest rules be learned 1st, and added that it is better to know how to find a correct ruling than to worry about memorizing it."

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