As conventional thinking once had it, Vormärz Prussia and the antebellum United States mapped out opposite ends of a “strong-state, weak-state” spectrum. But several decades of research have rendered both images increasingly untenable. Revisions began on the American side in the 1940s when a group of scholars set out to re-evaluate the state governments' role in antebellum American industrialization. These studies of state legislation and political rhetoric—the first to take federalism seriously, one might say—collectively laid to rest the myth of laissez-faire during the antebellum period. Since then scholars of the antebellum political economy have examined the American state from another angle, shifting attention to the role of the state and federal courts in economic growth. Others, mean-while, have taken a closer look at the federal government's role before the Civil War and discerned interventionist tendencies in the federal legislature and executive as well. The cumulative effect is clear: it has become impossible to speak of laissez-faire in the antebellum American context. On the Prussian side, too, historians have begun to rethink the state's role in industrialization as mounting evidence has undermined the conventional image. Initially, few historians questioned the extent of the state's involvement in economic activity during the first half of the 19th century; instead, they debated its consequences—beneficial or not, intended or not. On balance the first round of revisions judged Vormdrz Prussian policies to have been rather contradictory in nature, some encouraging industrialization but others either hampering economic change or proving irrelevant.5 Historian Clive Trebilcock has gone a step further, however, debunking what he labels “myths of the directed economy” in nineteenth-century Germany.