December 01, 2018 | 93 Wash. L. Rev. 1609
Abstract: During the past century, leading American academics have attempted to rewrite in radically altered form the theoretical foundation of liability in contract. In derogation of the historical bases for contractual liability in Anglo-American law, namely voluntary mutual exchange and “formal” contract, these intellectual revolutionaries desire to impose strict liability in contract on the basis of unilateral, unbargained-for reliance.
The centerpiece of this revisionist effort has been the novel and artificial doctrine of “promissory estoppel,” first advanced by Williston and Corbin in the Restatement of the Law of Contracts published in 1932. The invention of this doctrine has been ac…