Gentlemen's Agreement

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Gentlemen's Agreement

Although agreements between individuals often create legally binding commitments, instances may arise in which mutual promises yield no legally enforceable agreement. Sometimes called "gentlemen's agreements," parties may honor them because moral obligations compel observance or because future relations will be more difficult if the present arrangement is broken. International organizations likewise may depend on such informal arrangements so as to maintain comity among members.

Occasionally the enabling treaties that create an international organization will leave some procedural or voting matter unresolved. Rather than amend the formal document, which is usually a difficult task, an informal working agreement will develop to resolve a particular problem. As long as the consensus holds to honor the informal agreement, there is no need to embody it into a legal document.

References in periodicals archive ?
Earning a livelihood had been a spur to productivity since her teenage years, and these responsibilities continued to impel Hobson in the writing of Gentlemans Agreement.
Despite the fact that Gentlemans Agreement rarely receives more than a line or two of mention in scholarly accounts of postwar Jewish literature, it is a text that ably demonstrates the power that popular novels wield in shaping cultural sensibilities.
One could argue that the public square has been at least as shaped by more popular works, such as Gentlemans Agreement.
Laura Hobson, Gentlemans Agreement (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1947), 34.
Mashey Bernstein makes this point about Gentlemans Agreement.
As Matthew Frye Jacobson has observed, Gentlemans Agreement "offers a unique snapshot of the contest in the mid-twentieth century between a waning racial order that identified Jews as 'Semites' or 'Hebrews,' and the waxing order by which their status as 'Caucasians' would become more salient" (Matthew Frye Jacobson, "Becoming Caucasian: Vicissitudes of Whiteness in American Politics and Culture," Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 8, no.
This method of responding to anti-Semitism came under fire by several rabbis who gave sermons on Gentlemans Agreement during the 1940s, inspiring their own efforts to educate Americans about the distinctiveness of Judaism.