The question of what explains democracy is intricately connected to the question of when democracy occurs, which this paper seeks to address. Using a sample of independent regimes for the post World War II period from 1946 to 2008, I examine the emergence and consolidation of democracy lasting five consecutive years or more. I argue that along with other conventional explanations for democratization, the institutional history of a country helps to explain the emergence and consolidation of democracy. What is more, the pattern of prior regime change complements and augments models regarding the timing and duration of democracy better than a prior regime type. The preliminary analyses suggest outcome dependence by demonstrating the significance of long-term institutional patterns. Insofar as similar histories of regime change adds to models of democratization, the process may be better explained by going beyond duration and focusing on other forms of time-dependence. This analysis supports democratization research by focusing on the proper way to model the impact of time on democratization. It also demonstrates the usefulness of sequence analysis for answering important questions concerning the order and sequence of political events.