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Over the past generation, the history of the state has been experiencing a much-noted renaissance, especially in France and the United States. In the United States as late as 1986, Morton Keller complained to William Leuchtenburg in the Journal of American History: “To say that ‘there is much still to be learned about the nature of the State in America’ is … a major understatement. There is close to everything to be learned about the State.” In France as late as 1990, Pierre Rosanvallon’s powerful introduction to L’État en France suggested that an ambitious history of the state could not yet be written because of the lack of works focused specifically on the state. As he put it, “L’État comme problème politique, ou comme phénomène bureaucratique, est au coeur des passions partisanes et des débats philosophiques tout en restant une sorte de non-objet historique.” As the essays in this volume attest, much has changed in the historiography of the American and French states in the intervening 25 years. The state has indeed been brought “back in” in Theda Skocpol’s influential words. In fact, the return of the state in history, theory, and the social sciences in both France and the United States has been so strong and successful, that the subject of “the state/l’État” has again itself become an intellectual crossroads—and a contested terrain—for new important debates and controversies concerning the French and American past more generally.