Footnotes (13)



Williston as Conservative-Pragmatist

Mark L. Movsesian

St. John's University School of Law

Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 32, 2007
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-0086

This short piece is a contribution to a forthcoming symposium on the work of legal historian N.E.H. Hull. Professor Hull argues that the academics behind the First Restatement project - men like William Draper Lewis, Arthur Corbin, and Wesley Hohfeld - were "progressive pragmatists." These men wanted reform, but they understood the need to accommodate anti-reform traditionalists like Samuel Williston, the Reporter on the Restatement of Contracts. In my contribution to the symposium, I demonstrate that, conventional wisdom notwithstanding, Williston did not oppose reform in the Contracts Restatement. In fact, he was largely responsible for the Restatement's most thoroughgoing innovation, the doctrine of promissory estoppel. If, as Professor Hull maintains, the academics behind the Restatement project were "progressive-pragmatists," Williston is best understood as their conservative counterpart: a "conservative-pragmatist."

Number of Pages in PDF File: 4

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K12, K19

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Date posted: November 2, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Movsesian, Mark L., Williston as Conservative-Pragmatist. Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 32, 2007; St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-0086. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1026356

Contact Information

Mark L. Movsesian (Contact Author)
St. John's University School of Law ( email )
8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States
718-990-5650 (Phone)
718-990-2199 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/faculty/profiles/Movsesian
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