Contract Law in America: A Social and Economic Case Study

Contract Law in America: A Social and Economic Case Study


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25


A classic study of the social and economic realities of trade law, told through case studies and rich historical analysis. Comparing contract cases and legislation over three discrete historical periods, Lawrence Friedman shows that social context matters, that law is more flexible and adaptive than traditional doctrinal studies would suggest, and that the framing of contract law can use a fresh reexamination in light of the historical realities he exposes.

A recognized study in law & society, this volume previously hid out as a rare book or was completely unavailable. Now readily accessible worldwide, it also features a new preface by the author as well as a new, analytical foreword by Stewart Macaulay, a senior professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.

As Macaulay notes, Friedman's Contract Law in America "still challenges those who research, write and teach in the field of contracts. His findings and arguments still call for a serious response today." Has contracts doctrine become "the law of leftovers"? In any event, Macaulay sums up, "Friedman combines scholarship that takes him into dusty archives with insight into the broader effect of both public culture and legal culture. I am continually and pleasantly surprised when I read him."

As with all the quality contributions to Quid Pro's Classics of Law & Society Series, this book features modern formatting, legible tables, and hyperaccurate proofreading from the original text. Moreover, it embeds page numbers from the first edition (in both print and digital formats), for continuity of references.

Praise for this anniversary edition of the book abounds:

"Contract Law in America is one of the most important works in the entire scholarly literature on American legal history. Friedman took a subject that had been treated by researchers in exclusively doctrinal terms, bringing an entirely new perspective that revealed how contract law has been at the very center of how we need to understand 'law in action' in key periods of American development. In the methodology that Friedman applied, in the brilliance of the analysis, and in the new light his book cast on the full dimensions of governance and law in the United States, this book broke new ground. It remains today, still, required reading for any student of legal history."

- Harry N. Scheiber

Stefan A. Riesenfeld Professor of Law and History,
University of California at Berkeley

"The republishing of Contract Law in America is a very welcome event. For years this has been one of the neglected classics of legal literature. Friedman did what the Legal Realists only dreamed of doing-he studied in depth what kinds of contracts cases state courts had decided over time, and found grand patterns in the decisions. As real-world contracts dropped out of common law litigation and into private ordering and specialized regulation, courts abandoned abstract formal rule-making for particularized equitable resolutions. In the present moment, more receptive to social and empirical studies of law than was 1965, Friedman's book should finally find the audience it deserves."

- Robert W. Gordon

Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Emeritus, Yale University; and

Professor of Law, Stanford University

"Contract Law in America remains a classic examination of the relationships among legal doctrine, legal culture, and the shifting frameworks of American business enterprise. Amid the current academic re-engagement with questions of political economy, we can only hope that more historians, social scientists, and legal scholars acquaint themselves with Friedman's probing analysis of how law did, and did not, influence American commerce, and how commerce did, and did not, influence American law."

- Edward J. Balleisen

Associate Professor of History, Duke University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610279796
Publisher: Quid Pro, LLC
Publication date: 10/20/2011
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN is the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford University. An internationally renowned, prize-winning legal historian, Friedman has for a generation been the leading expositor of the history of American law to a global audience of lawyers and lay people alike--and a leading figure in the law & society movement. He is particularly well known for treating legal history as a branch of general social history. From his award-winning 'History of American Law,' first published in 1973, to his 'American Law in the 20th Century,' published in 2003, his canonical works have become classic textbooks in legal and undergraduate education.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews