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.
If a contract is made up of two or more covenants on each side, the effect of a breach of one of such covenants upon the right of the adversary party to treat the whole contract as discharged depends in part on the question whether such covenants in effect make an entire contract, or whether they make a number of distinct contracts; or, in other words, whether the contract is entire or severable.1
The names, "entire" and "severable," describe the nature of each kind of contract with a degree of accuracy which it is difficult to surpass by more elaborate definitions. It is said that an entire contract is one the covenants of which have not been separated by the parties, and which the court can not separate,2 since to do so would be to make for the parties a new contract which they might have made for themselves in the first instance, but which they did not make. An entire contract is also said to be one which is intended to accomplish a single object,3 or one in which the parties intend that each of the covenants shall be connected with every other covenant and related thereto.4
14 Detrick v. McGlone, 46 Ind. 291.
1 On this subject generally see, The Doctrine of Divisible Contracts, by Frederic C. Woodward, 39 American Law Register (N.S.), 1; Breach of One Installment of a Divisible Contract, by Francis H. Bohlen, 39 American Law Register (N.S.), 391, 468; Rescission of Divisible Contracts, by R. C. Mc-Murtrie, 15 American Law Review, 623; and The Rescission of Divisible Contracts, by Van Buren Denslow, 26 American Law Review, 20.
For a discussion of entire and severable contracts, Bee Krebs Hop Co. v. Livesley, 59 Or. 574, 114 Pac. 944, 118 Pac. 165.
2 Alabama. Ollinger & Bruce Dry Dock Co. v. Gibbony, - Ala. -, 81 So. 18.
Minnesota. Johnson v. Fehsefeldt, 106 Minn. 202, 20 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1069, 118 N. W. 797.
Mississippi Ganong v. Brown, 88 Miss. 53, 117 Am. St. Rep. 731, 40 So. 556.
Oklahoma. Dunn v. T. J. Cannon Co., 51 Okla. 382, 151 Pac. 1167.
Rhode Island. Garon v. Credit Fonder Canadien, 37 R. I. 273, 92 Atl. 561 [rehearing denied, Garon v. Credit Foncier Canadien, 92 Atl. 1022].
Wisconsin. Sixta v. Ontonagon Valley Land Co., 157 Wis. 293, 147 N. W. 1042.
3 International Contracting Co. ▼• United States, 47 Ct. CI. 158.
4 Pacific Timber Co. v. Iowa Windmill & Pump Co., 135 la. 308, 112 N. W. 771; Dunn v. T. J. Cannon Co., 51 Okla. 382, 151 Pac. 1167.
A severable contract is one the covenants of which have been separated by the parties, and which must accordingly be regarded by the courts as consisting, in legal effect, of two or more separate contracts.5