‘Do Americans like their government big — or small?’ explores historical American attitudes to big government. Reagan interpreted his 1980 election win as a mandate for revolution, but the public were not ready for his changes. America was born through rebellion against British power, and debates about the size of government raged in the country's early years. During the Civil War, regulation of big business was relaxed, but Progressive presidents expanded federal power to assist individuals over corporations. Even when in power, Republicans could not remove these welfare reforms, and the conservative voice seemed marginalized. However, conservatives, including Ronald Reagan, still existed, and still questioned big government.