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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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Responding to Revolution

Responding to Revolution

Moving Gifts and Consideration Through the Twentieth Century

(p.68) Three Responding to Revolution
Calculating Promises
Stanford University Press

The case law regarding gifts sheds light on classical theorizing of private law in general and on the workings of the classical doctrine of consideration in particular. Despite the success of classical scholars in formulating widely accepted rules, for example, regarding the enforceability of gifts and gift promises, a wide range of possible solutions became available for concrete cases with similar facts. This was true in cases lying near problematic borderlines such as gratuitous business undertakings, as well as theoretically easy cases: promises to make gifts. There were attempts to reform the rules of consideration during the twentieth century in order to expand and secure promissory liability. One such attempt revolves around the rights of third-party beneficiaries to a contract (that is, from whom must the consideration move?), while another concerns the question of promissory estoppel. One example of the current debate on moving gifts revolves around the issue of commodification.

Keywords:   gifts, doctrine of consideration, case law, contract, promissory estoppel, promissory liability, commodification, third-party beneficiaries, promises

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