This thesis is intended to provide the first considerable history of the sustained political offensive which was mounted against chain stores in the 'United States between 1927 and 1940. The work falls into five divisions. Part One examines the overall pattern of chain store development during this period and the impact of the changing interpretation and enforcement of the antitrust laws on the "chain store question". Part Two begins the chronological account of the anti-chain movements describing the attempts made by independent merchants, principally in the South and the interior states, to whip up feelings of "home town loyalty" to encourage a popular boycott of chain stores. After 1930s agitation of this character subsided, but the chains were then confronted by a more substantial threats that of discriminatory taxation. The development of the chain store tax weapon up to 1935, in which year the U. S. Supreme Court approved the principle of confiscatory chain store taxation and two states enacted severely repressive measures, is reviewed in Part Three. In 1935-1936 the chains also fell foul of Congress, a complex sequence of events - the subject of Part four - resulting in enactment of the Robinson-Patman price discrimination laws the only substantial legacy of the anti-chain movement. To this points the record was one of ever worsening danger for the chains, but 1936 proved to be the turning of the tide. The levelling off of chain store growth; the general economic upturn; the more relaxed competitive relationship between chains and independents fostered by price maintenance legislation, and the collapse of the broader politics of discontent which had done much to help the cause of the enemies of the chains in the mid-19301ss all served to hasten the demise of the anti-chain movement. Part five relates its remorseless descent to oblivion
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