This contribution examines the extent to which the landmark Mexican Constitution of 1917 can be seen as a forerunner of transformative constitutional projects in contemporary Latin America. To an unprecedented degree, the 1917 Constitution took into account the needs and aspirations of large sectors of the population, which had largely been absent from previous constitutional debates. It tried to fashion a political and economic system that provided new avenues for participation, namely by strengthening the state’s role in the economy. The parallels to more recent transformative constitutional projects in Latin America that seek to build a new state capable of addressing the twin evils of poverty and inequality are unmistakable. However, the same processes of globalization that had pushed a number of Latin American countries toward transformative constitutional politics also accelerated the demise of the corporatist state model, which had given Mexico unprecedented stability during much of the 20th century.
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