Historical Evolution of the Bankruptcy Discharge

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This article traces how the discharge in the United States became such a central part of our bankruptcy scheme. Specifically, the article examines the evolution of the bankruptcy discharge from the inception of the Anglo-American bankruptcy laws in 1542 until the first part of this century, by which time the fundamental shape of our current discharge laws had been formed. This article concludes with a review of some fine-tuning of the discharge provisions in 1903, which show a very slow and uneven evolution in bankruptcy law from its origins as a creditors’ collection remedy to the powerful debtor relief system in effect in our country in this century.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-371
Number of pages47
JournalAmerican Bankruptcy Law Journal
StatePublished - 1991


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