Precicely! It is fascinating to read old history and find just how much Americans relied upon one another and how little the government was involved. In anything. Today government seems everpresent, with all those characteristics you note.
Except. No one smart works for the government. If there WAS anyone smart working for the government, they would be hired away by the civilian world. That leaves a vast sea of incompetent bureaucrats to "decide" what is right, appropriate, etc.
The country was originally created with 4 basic virtues to be promolgated in the people: Industry, honesty, religiosity, and marriage. If you look at the people up to about 1960-70, those were still strongly demonstrated within the people. In the interval, the progressives have striven mightyly to replace the virtues with - government. Laws. Somehow the idea is that we no longer need to think about honesty because the laws will keep us honest. Thus we get the string of governors from Illinois in jail. Marriage was once the cornerstone of the social fabric. Not so anymore. Now, excluding whether or not you like marriage, the interesting fact is that the results of kids raised by single mothers is abysmal. Yes, there are always some exceptions, but the average is horrible. Interestingly, so is the record of non-married couples living together and raising children.
Charles Murray has written a number of interesting books, one of which, Coming Apart, sets out the statistics to show we are in trouble. Read it if you have such an inclination. Lately I have been reading all manner of stuff about how America was - and why that made it great. DeToqueville would not recognize the America of today.