Document Type

Honors Paper

Publication Date



Through an empirical analysis of the state of Mexico, this thesis examines the transition to democracy from a previously consolidated, stable authoritarian system in order to make conclusions regarding the challenges inherent in such a transition for the maintenance of stability. Previously, Mexico was ruled under the hegemonic party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) from 1929-2000.

This research finds that the PRI’s hegemonic structure relied on unsustainable corporatist institutions that were built, not to strengthen the state, but rather to strengthen the party; as such, Mexico’s nascent democracy is left vulnerable with ineffective institutions with which to deal with crises such as the current war on cartel eradication.

Furthermore, the state that the PRI’s hegemonic system had created has ceased to exist and with it the stability of the state and the legitimacy of its institutions. The importance of establishing legitimacy in the electoral institutions of a state entering democracy has been overemphasized within literature on transitions to democracy and it has done so at the expense of state stability.


The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.