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Effect of Options on Consideration, 34 Yale Law Journal 571 (1925)


The principal feature of cO'ntract law is that by a voluntary expression
of assent to-day one can deprive himself of his freedom to-morrow.
This does not mean that he does not have as' free a will to-morrow as
to-day. At least, experience proves that most promises can be broken.
It means only that organized society-the fellow men of our political or
social group -- afford as against a promisor and in favor of a promisee
a certain stimulus to action that tends to induce performance in accordance
with a promise. This stimulus consists of the various sorts of societal remedies and penalties available to prevent or to compensate for or to penalize the breach of a contract. It is a stimulus that would not exist in the absence of an organized society -- in the absence of law. Without law and organization, other stimuli toward the keeping of promises might exist. Some of them still exist along with but outside of law. The legal and societal system is merely an addition thereto, or a substitute therefor, brought about by reason of its survival value in the eVblutionary development of men living in groups.

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