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Calculating PromisesThe Emergence of Modern American Contract Doctrine$
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Roy Kreitner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753982

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753982.001.0001

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The Imagined Individual at the Borders of Contract

(p.1) Introduction
Calculating Promises
Stanford University Press

This book traces the history of contract and contract law in the United States. It challenges conventional wisdom that our current conception of contract is the result of gradual, piecemeal refinements of a centuries-old idea of contract. Rather, contract as it is known today was shaped by a revolution in private law undertaken by classical legal scholars toward the end of the nineteenth century. The book examines three conceptual issues within contract doctrine: wagers, gifts, and implied obligations or incomplete contracts. It is divided into three parts: Part 1 deals with the law of gifts and the doctrine of consideration, Part 2 looks at the paradox raised by wagers for the concept of contract and explores a transformative moment in the development of contract law when the question of gambling was eventually accepted, and Part 3 analyzes the ongoing debate over incomplete contracts, with an emphasis on its historical assumptions.

Keywords:   contract, contract law, United States, private law, wagers, gifts, implied obligations, incomplete contracts, doctrine of consideration, gambling

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