"In 1938, at the suggestion of his secretary of commerce, President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited 1,000 small business people from around the nation to a conference in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt hoped to show that small business people, unlike their big business counterparts, supported the New Deal. Convened on 3 February, the Small Business Conference achieved no such consensus. From beginning to end, the meeting was in almost constant turmoil, as the delegates divided by region, type of industry, and size of business (some small businesses were larger than others). At the start of the first afternoon session, a typical disagreement surfaced. Seventeen New York business people seized the front of the Department of Commerce auditorium, demanding to be heard on behalf of the millions they said they represented, whereupon non-New Yorkers broke into the raucous chant of 'New York sit down! New York sit down!' Lasting for several more days, the conference accomplished little except to show a lack of unity among small business people. No more than in the past did small businesses compose a monolithic group."
-- From A History of Small Business in America, by Mansel G. Blackford (Twayne Publishers, 1991)* * *
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