Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in History

First Advisor

Jessica Wilkerson

Second Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Dollar General Corporation has grown into a retail titan with more than 15 000 stores across the continental United States. The first chapter of this thesis traces the history of this multibillion-dollar firm since its founding as a family-run business in Scottsville Kentucky in the late 1930s. Situating Dollar General’s history within the evolving contexts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries illustrates that Dollar General Stores succeed when the economy staggers. Neoliberalism and global finance capitalism have only exacerbated the geographic expansion and profitability of the company as the second chapter begins to explore. Although Dollar General Stores open at a rate of three new stores per day communities do not always welcome Dollar General. The three case studies of localized anti-Dollar General movements documented in the third chapter show that organizing in opposition can slow the spread of the corporation. In “A Bargain at Any Cost: The Rise of Dollar General ” Frances Barrett demonstrates that the history of Dollar General—and the dollar industry at large—reveals important insights into the lives of vulnerable shoppers workers and community members as well as the effects of national policy on the practices of low-end retailers in the U.S.



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