Many of the trends reflect the vigorous continuation of what Tocqueville called "the gradual progress of equality." Much of this progress resulted from successful government programs to reduce social inequality. These same programs expanded the role of government as the initiator and manager of social change. The enlargement of government functions that began in the 1960s and continues to this day, together with corporate and organizational consolidation in the private sector, changed the United States from a decentralized to a highly centralized nation. The transition has been uncomfortable, partly because centralization is not wholly compatible with other democratic values, and partly because American political institutions were originally designed to thwart centralization. This volume documents the trends involved in this transformation.