Contracts: development of a contract law, basic contracts, its types.
Many of the rules of contract law were developed in the 18th and I9th centuries. The social conditions existing at that time played a strong role in shaping contract law.
Most contracts people entered into in 18th century and the early 19th century fit a typical mould. People dealt with each other on a face-to-face basis, the parties often knew each other personally or at least knew each other's reputation for fair dealing. The kinds of things people bought and sold were relatively simple, and the odds were that the buyer knew enough about the purchase to make an intelligent choice.
The 19th century also saw free market economic theories treated as a highly important part of public policy. The courts were unwilling to interfere with people's private agreements or to do anything that might interfere with the country's growing industrialization. "Freedom of act" was the rule of the day. This ”hands-off” policy made contracts an ideal device for business.
People in business were able to do the kinds of economic planning that increasing industrialization required.
The Industrial Revolution that modernized America also changed many of the basic assumptions underlying contract law. The things people bought and sold became more and more complex. Buyers often had little or no knowledge about the goods they bought.
An increasingly large percentage of agreements were based on form contracts. Frequently, people didn’t sit down and bargain about the terms of their agreement; instead, they used a printed contract form created their agreement, often doing little more than filling the blanks.
The legal system began to respond to these changes in our way of life, changing contract law in the process. Many important contractual relationships that had earlier been left to private bargaining began to be controlled to some degree by legislation. Many courts also began to shift their emphasis from protecting business and promoting industrialization to protecting consumers and workers.
Nowadays we have basic contracts and several terms are used to describe the different kinds of these contracts: a unilateral contract is an act exchanged for a promise; a bilateral contract is a promise exchanged for a promise; an executory contract is a contract that has not been fully performed etc.
So, contracts have passed a long way of development. And though it is not ended yet, we already use the standard kinds of contracts in business.