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Should a person always keep his word? For example, If you are employed and have sufficient money to meet the needs of your family, you may welI sign a pledge to make a charitable contribution each month to the United Fund or to some specific charity. If you lose your Job, or incur unexpected expenses, fulfillment of your promise might deprive your family of food, clothing, or other necessities. Or, look at another situation: a father promises to take his children to the circus. Just before they are to depart, he receives a call from his employer asking him to come to the office to complete some work. Or again, a husband promises to give his wife a certain allowance each week to run the household. Is he bound to continue If he believes that she Is not using the money wisely?

The law of contracts asks the same basic question with a different twist. The Issue Is not necessarily which promises should be kept, but rather which promise should society enforce and how should society enforce them. But why is society concerned with whether people keep their promise? Is it because people ought to keep promises: It being a misuse of the communication abilities of humans to promise something and then not perform? Is It for economic reasons: promises are necessary for the business world to function smoothly? ls It to prevent disorder In the community; to give people a method of righting a "wrong" other than by beating the promise breaker over the head with a club?



Publication Date



Albuquerque, NM


University of New Mexico School of Law


Course Material, Contracts




Course Materials prepared for UNMSOL class on Contracts (1970).

Cases and Materials on Contracts

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