Modern, rationally structured, hierarchical state administrative bureaucracies coincided with the centralization of government authority and expansion of European imperialist military systems in the 18th and 19th centuries. ‘Progressive reform across the globe’ explains that the characteristics and dimensions of the modern nation-state helped lay the foundations of modern public administration and social welfare systems in America and Western Europe. The American Progressive era and the progressive reforms that shaped European welfare states are discussed. Public administrators were compelled to adopt new bureaucratic methods and processes to carry out their functions and mandates. These new administrative processes were rooted in principles and methods associated with the Gilded Age and the Scientific Revolution.