Procedures at the American Historical Association's Annual Business Meeting

The Constitution and Bylaws of the AHA provide a variety of ways to bring business before the annual business meeting.

  • Reports and proposals from Council, officers of the Association, and Association committees bring business before the meeting. Motions directly related to those matters are in order.
  • Council may place other business on the agenda.
  • The business meeting may also consider resolutions and proposals submitted by a petition of the membership, concerning the affairs of the Association.

Before the Meeting:

  • To be placed on the meeting agenda, resolutions submitted by a petition of the membership must meet criteria set in Bylaw 12(4)(a):
    • The resolution must be received by the AHA no later than October 1. Please send the resolution and accompanying submission in electronic format to Be sure to include the name(s) and contact information for the resolution organizers.
    • The resolution must be signed by members of the Association who are in good standing at the time of submission, and by at least two percent (2%) of the total Association membership as of the end of the previous fiscal year.
    • The resolution cannot be more than 300 words in length and must be in parliamentary form.
  • The resolution must deal "with a matter of concern to the Association or the discipline of history and must adhere to the Association's Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance."
  • Signatures in support of such resolutions must be collected no earlier than January 1 of the year in which the resolution is submitted.
  • Organizers of resolutions are encouraged to consult with members of the AHA Council prior to the submission deadline for guidance on adherence to AHA constitution and bylaws.

During the Meeting

  • To attend the annual business meeting, and therefore vote on AHA business, you must be a member of the AHA.  If you plan to attend, please confirm in advance that your membership is up to date.
  • To ensure as far as possible the fair and equitable consideration of all member resolutions, the Council may fix the duration and terms of debate on any resolution. All debate is conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order.
  • The annual business meeting may, by a two-thirds vote in the presence of a quorum of at least two percent (2%) of the total Association membership as of the end of the previous fiscal year in good standing, suspend Bylaw 12(4)(a) regarding the number of signatures required to present a resolution and the deadline for submission. The motion to suspend shall include a preamble explaining why suspension of Bylaw 12(4)(a) is appropriate.  (Please note, the requirement that a resolution concern the affairs of the Association appears in Article 7 of the constitution and therefore cannot be suspended.)
  • Any member may move to instruct Council to place a subject on the agenda of the next business meeting. Passage requires only a majority vote.

After the Meeting

All measures passed by the business meeting come before the AHA Council, which can accept them, refuse to concur, or exercise a veto.

  • If Council refuses to concur in a measure, it must submit that measure to a majority vote of the entire membership, with proponents and Council provided an equal opportunity to set forth their positions.
  • Council may veto a measure if it believes it to be in violation of the AHA constitution, in violation of law, or if it believes the measure financially or administratively unfeasible. The Council shall publish an explanation for each such veto.
  • Council may, at its discretion, submit a measure adopted by the business meeting to a vote of the entire membership.