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1. What is a deliberative assembly f
A deliberative assembly is an organized meeting of persons convened to consider and examine the reasons for and against measures and propositions submitted for their decision.
2. What is meant by an "organized" meeting?
To organize is to form, or supply with the proper organs, that is, with the means or instruments of action; and, when applied to an assemblage of persons gathered for deliberation, signifies to supply with suitable officers, and otherwise so to provide, that all the members may duly participate in the proceedings
3. What officers are necessary for a deliberative assembly?
The officers necessary for a deliberative body are a Presiding Officer* and a Secretary or Clerk; but others may be appointed, according to the exigencies of the occasion, or the special nature of the organization. Thus, there may be one or more Vice-Presidents, one or more additional Secretaries, a Corresponding Secretary and a Treasurer.
* The presiding officer in a deliberative body is variously denominated. In the Senate of the United States, he is the President; in the House of Representatives, he is the Speaker; in certain ecclesiastical organizations, he is the Moderator; in ordinary meetings, resulting from a published call, he is styled the Chairman. President is the name most comprehensive, and the one most commonly employed in literary and other societies, in Boards of Managers, and in other similar organizations.
4. Are the proceedings, in a deliberative assembly, conducted in accordance with any particular rules?
All business in deliberative bodies is transacted in conformity with certain rules and regulations, which experience has shown to be fit and necessary for that purpose. These are called Eules of Order.
5. What is the particular advantage of rules of order f The object of a meeting for deliberation is, of course,
to obtain a free expression of opinion, and a fair decision of the questions discussed. Without rules of order, this object would, in most cases, be utterly defeated; for there would be no uniformity in the modes of proceeding, no restraint upon, indecorous or disorderly conduct, no protection to the rights and privileges of members, no guarantee against the caprices and usurpations of a presiding officer, no safeguard against tyrannical majorities, nor any suitable regard to the rights of a minority.
6. Are the rules of order alike in all deliberative assemblies?
The rules of order in our National Congress are essentially the same as those in force in the British Parliament; being, in fact, mainly derived from that source. There are, however, important differences; growing chiefly out of differences in government and institutions.
The rules of order in our State Legislatures are substantially tlie same as those adopted in the National Congress; being, indeed, founded thereupon. But, as the rules in use in Congress differ, in some respects, from those established in Parliament, so those in the several State Legislatures differ, in some particulars, from those adopted in Congress.
And again, as the rules in the several State Legislatures differ, in some points, from those in Congress, on which they are founded, so do they differ not unfrequently from one another; though in all the essentials of the common code, they are quite in harmony.
The rules of order in most other deliberative bodies in this country, are, in the main, the same with those in the National Congress or in the State Legislatures; so that, in almost all fundamental points, there is great uniformity of practice. Hence, in allusion to the origin of the code of rules and regulations, thus generally established, it is often called The Common Code OF PARLIAMENTARY LAW.
7. Is it customary, in deliberative bodies, to adopt rules other than those embraced in this common code?
It is not unusual for deliberative bodies of every kind, especially permanent organizations, to adopt, in addition to the common code, a series of special rules. These special rules, if, in any particular, they conflict with the ordinary parliamentary laws, always, so far as the body that adopts them is concerned, take the precedence. Where there is no special rule, there, of course, the common law is to be enforced.
8. In what form are the acts of a deliberative assembly usually expressed f
The decisions or resolves of a deliberative assembly, which properly constitute their acts, are usually embodied and affirmed in formal declarations, called Kesolutions.
These resolutions are on motion duly seconded, and stated from the chair, first freely discussed, and then decided affirmatively, or negatively by the meeting.
9. What is meant by the phrase "on motion, duly seconded" f
Whenever a member wishes to get the sense, or judgment of the body on any given proposition, and, for that purpose, moves, or proposes its adoption, he is said to make a motion.
To move a resolution, therefore, is simply to offer it for consideration. But it can never be entertained by the meeting, unless it so far finds favor, that some member other than the proposer, gives it his sanction by becoming his second.
To second a motion, then, is to join with the proposer thereof, as his aid or second, in offering it to the consideration of the meeting. The party moving the resolution introduces it with, or without previous remarks, by saying: "Mr. President, I beg have to offer the following Resolution;" which he then reads aloud. The party seconding, simply says: "I second that motion"
10. Are not the words "motion" and "resolution" often convertible terms?
Motion, literally means the act of moving; resolution, the act of resolving; but these words, like all others of the same formation, may signify, respectively, either the act of moving, or that which is moved, the act of resolving, or that which is resolved. Hence, since that which is moved, or proposed, in a deliberative body often proves identical with that which is resolved, these two words are generally regarded as synonymous. The distinction, however, between them deserves to be kept in mind, and it may further serve to impress it, if we remember, that while it is quite common and proper to say, "I" move a resolution" it would be wholly inadmissible to reverse the terms and say, "I resolve a motion"*
11. In what way or ways are decisions commonly made in a deliberative assembly?
The decisions in a deliberative assembly are commonly made by open vote; often, also, by ballot.
There is also another mode of taking the question^ which is called, taking the question by yeas and nays.
12. What is the difference between a vote and a ballot?
Vote, literally means a vow, wish or will It is,
* Mathias (Rules of Order, p, 44) mentions a distinction made in Legislative bodies between these two terms, which rests, as will be seen, essentially upon the original differences of import indicated in the text. He says: "Legislative bodies make a marked distinction between resolutions and motions. The former are presumed to embrace matters of importance, and, after being read by the clerk, require a motion to 'proceed to a second reading and consideration.' Motions are of minor character, and relate generally to order in taking up business, or to some preparatory movements necessary for business. These do not require a second reading."