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 law of contract in the United States, except in the state of Louisiana, is based upon the English law of contract. The origin of contract at early English law can not be understood, however, as a problem separate and apart from the general nature of primitive law and from the origin of contract in other corresponding systems. If early English law is considered by itself without reference to other systems, certain peculiarities in its origin and development will appear to be grotesque and irrational, when a comparison of English law with other systems of law will show that for some reason these features are almost inevitable in the development of contract Other features to which we have become accustomed and which we regard as eminently rational, such as the doctrine of consideration, 1 will appear on comparison with other systems of law to be ideas peculiar to Anglo-American law and having apparently no necessary connection with the general development of contract law.
2Pottrier on Obligations (translated by Evans), Part I, ch. I, section 1; Art I, Sec. 1.