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A threat is a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. A threat is considered an act of coercion. Threats (intimidation) are widely observed in animal behavior, particularly in a ritualized form, chiefly in order to avoid the unnecessary physical violence that can lead to physical damage or the death of both conflicting parties. 
- What does a claimant need to show in order to succeed on a theory of duress by threat? The Restatement Second suggests four requirements.' First, there must be a threat. Second, the threat must be of a kind that the law condemns. Third, the threat must induce the victim's manifestation of assent. Fourth, the threat mustbe sufficiently grave to justify the victim's assent.
First, what is a threat? Though the Restatement Second attempts no definition, it may be of interest to consider that question in passing here. To begin with, a threat is a manifestation of an intent to do or not to do something in the future ("I'll break your arm" or "I'll break our contract"). But a promise is also a manifestation to do something in the future. Suppose a contractor says to a landowner, "I'll build the house." That is a promise. How does a threat differ from such a promise? Ordinarily, at least, a significant difference between a threat and any other statement of intention is that a threat manifests an intention to do or not to do something that is less desirable from the promisee's point of view than if the alternative were the case. Suppose that after the landowner has gotten the contractor to agree to build the house, the contractor says, "I will not build the house." You would call that a threat because his not building the house is less desirable from the landowner's point of view than his building it. Or suppose I say, "I'll give you a kiss." You might well ask, "Is that a threat or a promise?" And I would say that the answer depends on you: I have made a statement of intention, and whether it is the kind of a statement that is described here as a threat depends on whether my kissing you is less desirable from your point of view than my not kissing you.
- E. Allan Farnsworth, "Coercion in Contract Law", Volume 5, Issue 3, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, p.331, (1982).
- Batman: Amanda Waller. Born in St. Louis, Rhodes scholar, PhD in Political Science. Served in Intelligence, under three administrations. Disappeared from public life, four years ago.
- Amanda Waller: (deadpan) Am I supposed to be impressed? Maybe I should rattle off your resume now? Y'know, I could blow the whistle on you any time I want...
- Batman: Fine, why don't WE step into the light together? I'm sure the American people would be just as interested in YOUR activities as mine - Secret weapons, illegal cloning experiments, bypassing Congress...
- Amanda Waller: What do you want!?
- Batman: I want to know what you think you're doing.
- Amanda Waller: Did Superman ever mention that to get Luthor's pardon, he had to tell us about your parallel universe adventure? All about it? We started to wonder what would if you took the same action that the Justice Lords did. So I had my people run some computer simulations: If the Justice League ever went rogue, what do you think would occur?
- Batman: That's moot...
- Amanda Waller: (Dryly) Humor me. In every single scenario, you beat us. Badly. But that was before CADMUS Now we have the technology to defend ourselves.
- Batman: (Threatening) Whatever you think you're doing, if you present a threat to the world, the Justice League will take you down...
- Amanda Waller: (Angry) If we present a threat!? You got a SPACESHIP floating over our heads with a laser cannon pointing down! In another dimension, seven of you overthrew the government and assassinated the President! WE are the good guys, protecting our country from a very real threat: you.
- Robert Goodman, Justice League Unlimited, "Doomsday Sanction", (February 19, 2005).