As deficits preceded Keynes, so the impetus for centralization preceded the New Deal. In the years leading up to and during the Progressive Era, the American people began to empower government to exert more public stewardship over a society being transformed by industrialization and urbanization. An ambitious agenda outlined by the Progressive Party in the 1912 election implied an administrative apparatus out of step with traditional American views of limited constitutional government. Through its separation of powers, enumerated powers, federal structure, and natural rights tradition, limited constitutional government necessarily considers both the equal and the unequal in seeking a just society. The United States thus could be founded on the proposition that all men are created equal and then constitute a government whose “first object,” according to Madison, is to protect the diverse faculties of its citizens that result in unequal outcomes. The development of the American administrative state necessarily involved the diminishment of constitutional forms that provided various political platforms from which to advance varying, “unequal” viewpoints. Social welfare initiatives pursued in centralized fashion also conflicted with a natural rights tradition that emphasized equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. The growth of the administrative state was accompanied by a heightened emphasis on collective opinion as a substitute for the constitutional structure that was being abandoned. American democracy came to rely more on a central figure to discern and lead that public opinion. With quantitative modeling establishing the significance of centralization in contributing to state debt, this chapter applies the theoretical arguments of Chapter 2 to the historical narrative of Progressivism to show how centralized administration more capable of programmatic achievement may be less capable of the justice that accompanies self-government.