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

Overview

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, ...

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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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. (American Historical Review)

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)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Small Business as the Backbone of Democracy 1
Ch. 1 The Robinson-Patman Act: The Magna Charta of Small Business 17
Ch. 2 Minnows Cannot Compete with Whales: The Politics of Small Business in the Tire Industry, 1936-1961 37
Ch. 3 Fair Trade: The Politics of Price Maintenance, 1937-1975 67
Ch. 4 Congressional Small Business Advocates: The People behind the Politics 89
Ch. 5 War and Peace: The Politics of Small Business in the 1940s 99
Ch. 6 The Small Defense Plants Administration and the Creation of the Small Business Administration, 1951-1953 127
Ch. 7 The Small Business Administration: Push-and-Pull Politics, 1953-1961 143
Conclusion: Federal Government Policy and Small Business 165
Notes 179
Bibliography 247
Index 273
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