This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The simple contract is the one in general use in the life about us; and in discussing our law as applied to life, the simple contract has become the prevailing type and the other classes of contracts have dropped to mere variants of the simple contract. While from an historical standpoint, the contracts creating debt and the formal contracts preceded the ordinary simple contract, and while this order should be taken in a purely historical discussion, it is easier at modern law, in discussing the details of the law of contracts, to treat the simple contract as the general type, and to discuss the formal contract as a modification thereof. This plan will accordingly be adopted in this work. The formation of the simple contract as the normal type of genuine contract will first be considered, and the other classes of contract at the common law will be treated as variations from this normal type. The forms of written contract will be considered as special types of the simple contract. The subject of parties will be postponed until after a discussion of the common-law classes of contract, since so much of the law of the contracts of parties of abnormal status involves questions of quasi-contract. The construction, operation and discharge of the contract will then be considered in detail. Finally a group of topics involving the place of contract in American law will be considered. Logically this group might come first; but it will be easier to discuss it after treating of the formation, construction, operation and discharge of contract.
1 See ch. XLIV.