If you've ever lived in a planned development or a condominium, you know how important rules are to maintain order in a place where so many people live. Imagine, then, what it was like for the early colonists on the American continent who came from a structured government in Great Britain and found themselves in the wilderness without a plan for government.
Most people associate
The early settlers weren't just people in search of religious freedom. Some were businessmen and entrepreneurs, and some were politicians and military officers. It was natural for them to use the traditional parliamentary law developed in Great Britain in the thirteenth century, adapting it as needed. After all, they were proponents of change!
Governing boards, civic organizations, college fraternal groups — so many diverse groups have used Robert's Rules. Even groups that appear to have very diverse interests — such as civil rights groups and motorcycle enthusiast clubs — have successfully used the rules to conduct their meetings.
Thomas Jefferson and Parliamentary Practice
Most people know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, but many don't know that he authored the
Jefferson drew up a plan for American government that used some elements of British parliamentary procedure, such as the rules for the British House of Commons. The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives owe their procedure for running our government to Jefferson's plan.
A Good Idea Gets Duplicated
As the “big” governing organizations began doing their jobs, many other levels beneath them began to come into existence. Some of these were concerned with state and local governing bodies, but many weren't created to make or enforce laws. Other organizations from fraternal to business groups needed some form to guide their meeting business. After all, who wants to sound like the president of the United States at the local fraternal hall?