This article explores the relationship between policy transfer through time and the quest for political legitimacy in developing countries. It is concerned with instances where contemporary figures reach back a long way in history in the search for items that can be used to legitimate present or future political arrangements. The first part of the article broadly classifies the various ways in which time has been used, but acknowledges the relative neglect of the temporal dimension in policy transfer studies. However, in the process of the search for political legitimation in developing countries, there has been a regular use of policy transfer through time. This is explored in a detailed case study of President Hugo Chávez's Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. From this case study, a four-stage sequence of policy transfer through time is constructed.