The Dominican Republic has gone through 39 constitutions, more than any other country, since its independence in 1844. This statistic is a somewhat deceiving indicator of political stability, however, because of the Dominican practice of promulgating a new constitution whenever an amendment is ratified. Although technically different from each other in some particular provisions, most new constitutions contained only minor modifications of those previously in effect. Sweeping constitutional innovations were relatively rare.
A large number of constitutions do, however, reflect a fundamental lack of consensus on the rules that should govern the national political life. Most Dominican governments felt compelled upon taking office to write new constitutions that changed the rules to fit their own wishes. Not only did successive governments often strenuously disagree with their predecessors' policies and programs, but they often wholly rejected the institutional framework within which th