Beyond the Broker State: Federal Policies Toward Small Business, 1936-1961

Beyond the Broker State: Federal Policies Toward Small Business, 1936-1961

by Jonathan J. Bean


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Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln both considered small business the backbone of American democracy and free enterprise. In Beyond the Broker State, Jonathan Bean considers the impact of this ideology on American politics from the Great Depression to the creation of the Small Business Administration during the Eisenhower administration. Bean's analysis of public policy toward small business during this period challenges the long-accepted definition of politics as the interplay of organized interest groups, mediated by a 'broker-state' government. Specifically, he highlights the unorganized nature of the small business community and the ideological appeal that small business held for key members of Congress. Bean focuses on anti-chain-store legislation beginning in the 1930s and on the establishment of federal small business agencies in the 1940s and 1950s. According to Bean, Congress, inspired by the rhetoric of crisis, often misinterpreted or misrepresented the threat posed to small business from large corporations, and as a result, protective legislation sometimes worked against the interests it was meant to serve. Despite this misguided aid, argues Bean, small business has proved to be a remarkably resilient, if still unorganized, force.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807854259
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/01/2001
Series: The Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. Hodges Sr. Series on Business, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy
Edition description: 1
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 9.21(d)

About the Author

Jonathan J. Bean is assistant professor of history at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction Chapter 1. The Robinson-Patman Act: The Magna Charta of Small Business Chapter 2. Minnows Cannot Compete with Whales: The Politics of Small Business in the Tire Industry, 1936-1961
Chapter 3. Fair Trade: The Politics of Price Maintenance, 1936-1975
Chapter 4. Congressional Small Business Advocates: The People behind the Politics Chapter 5. War and Peace: The Politics of Small Business in the 1940s Chapter 6. The Small Defense Plants Administration and the Creation of the Small Business Administration, 1951-1953
Chapter 7. The Small Business Administration: Push-and-Pull Politics, 1953-1961
Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index


"Buster Brown" takes on the mail-order business Small businessmen and A&P Anti-chain-store cartoon Representative Wright Patman Senators Robert A. Taft and James A. Murray Representative Emanuel Celler Signing of bill creating the Smaller War Plants Corporation SBA Administrator Wendell Barnes Wright Patman and officials of the National Small Business Men's Association

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From the Publisher

This valuable history of public policy toward small business provides ample grounds for suspicion of either the effectiveness of, or the need for, an 'industrial policy' in the interests of what has proven to be an enduring and richly resilient sector of the American economy and society.—Stuart Bruchey, Columbia University

An excellent book that is invaluable to twentieth-century political and business historians. By bringing small business back into political history, Bean provides a shrewd analysis of an important area of public policy that has been downplayed by historians and political scientists. His work raises important challenges to the current historiography on business-government relations.—American Historical Review

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