Sue Fulghum

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. John W. Outland


The purpose of this paper is to test the hypothesis that the factors that have produced political stability in Mexico have been largely absent from the political development experience of other Latin American countries that have experi~nced instability. Based on the literature on political development theory and on an historical survey of political development in Mexico, the factors of consensus, legitimacy and institutionalization are identified as having been primarily responsible for political stability. These factors have allowed the Mexican political system to respond successfully to the destabilizing pressures of modernization, economic development, social mobilization and urbanization, as well as the external pressures of economic dependence. From an analysis of political development in Argentina, Chile and Brazil, it is my conclusion that these countries have failed to develop a consensus, suffered repeated crises of legitimacy, and failed to develop political institutions to check the destabilizing forces of modernization, the military and external influences.