Gentlemen`s agreements were a widespread discriminatory tactic that would have been more common than restrictive alliances to maintain the homogeneity of upper-class neighborhoods and suburbs in the United States.  The nature of these agreements made them extremely difficult to prove or prosecute, and they were so long after the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Shelley v. Kraemer and Barrows v. Jackson.  One source claims that gentlemen`s agreements “undoubtedly still exist,” but that their use has declined sharply.  The U.S. government banned gentlemen`s agreements in trade and commerce relations between nations in 1890. Gentlemen`s agreements between industry and the U.S. government were common in the 1800s and early 1900s. The Bureau of Corporations, the predecessor of the Federal Trade Commission, was founded in 1903 to investigate monopolistic practices.
A U.S. House of Representatives report detailing its investigation into the United States Steel Corporation stated that in the 1890s there were two general types of loose associations or consolidations between steel and steel interests, in which sole proprietorships retained ownership as well as a high degree of independence: the pool and the gentleman`s agreement.  The latter type lacked a formal organization to regulate production or prices, or provisions for confiscation in the event of non-compliance.  The effectiveness of the agreement was based on members` compliance with informal commitments.  Intense anti-Japanese sentiment has developed on the West Coast. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt did not want to upset Japan by passing laws banning Japanese immigration to the United States, as had happened with Chinese immigration. Instead, there was an informal “gentlemen`s agreement” (1907-8) between the United States and Japan, with Japan ensuring that there was very little or no movement to the United States. The agreements were reached by US Secretary of State Elihu Root and Japanese Foreign Minister Tadasu Hayashi. The agreement prohibited the emigration of Japanese workers to the United States and repealed the segregation order of the San Francisco School Board in California, which had humiliated and angered the Japanese.
The agreement did not apply to the territory of Hawaii, which was then treated as separate from the United States. The agreements remained in effect until 1924, when Congress banned all immigration from Japan.  Similar anti-Japanese sentiment in Canada simultaneously led to the Hayashi-Lemieux Agreement, also known as the Gentlemen`s Agreement of 1908, with substantially similar clauses and effects.  A gentleman`s agreement, which is more of a point of honor and etiquette, is based on the leniency of two or more parties in the performance of oral or implied obligations. Unlike a binding contract or legal agreement, there is no remedy administered by a court when a gentlemen`s agreement is broken. .