A Manual of General Parliamentary Law with suggestions for special rules
Thomas Brackett Reed
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
1889-1891 and 1895-1899
It should be understood at once that this Manual has nothing to do with the political differences which have existed as to the rules of the House of Representatives, except so far as any treatise would incidentally refer to them.
The object of this book is to present the rules of general parliamentary law in such a way that the system can be comprehended by persons who may be called upon to preside over meetings of deliberative bodies, and by those who may desire to participate in the proceedings. The aim has been to so explain each motion that it may be understood by itself and also in its relations to other motions. Paragraphs also have been inserted to show the changes made in general parliamentary law by the rules and usages of the United States House of Representatives. This, it was thought, would be useful to enable those who desired so to do to comprehend, in a general way, the practice of that body.
Forms and suggestions have been added. If it should seem to anyone versed in parliamentary law that many of the forms are too simple to need printing, the author ventures to suggest that a beginner does not know the simpler things, and needs them the most.
If the student has once fixed in his mind the idea that parliamentary law is not a series of arbitrary rules, but a plain, consistent system, founded on common sense, and sanctioned by the experience of mankind, he will have gone far toward understanding it. That this little volume will complete his education is too much to expect, but that it will aid and assist the learner is the hope of the author.
THOMAS B. REED