From the viewpoint of the bankrupt debtor, a discharge from his obligations is, no doubt, the most important facet of bankruptcy proceedings. The bankruptcy discharge is designed to relieve the honest debtor from his financial entanglements, and to give him an opportunity to reinstate himself in the business world. A debtor is now entitled to a discharge as a matter of right, unless he has been guilty of certain specified offenses against the Bankruptcy Act. For many generations the idea of a discharge from one's debts has been the relieving feature of bankruptcy. However, it has not always been so. The first English bankruptcy acts--in which American bankruptcy law finds its origin-did not contain even the germ of an idea of a discharge.
Paul J. Hartman,
The Dischargeability of Debts in Bankruptcy,
15 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol15/iss1/2