Robert Putnam extolled the virtue of social capital by arguing that social networks, civil society, and trust contribute to democracy. Subsequent research, however, identified a weakness in the social capital “model” in its underspecification of the mechanisms by which social capital affects political systems. This article proposes the concept of political capital as a likely product of social capital that links civil society participants to the political system. The article tests this two-stage model of social capital and political capital and their effects on democratization using survey data from eight Latin American nations. Results find that civil society engagement in 2004 affected political capital variables, which, in turn, had positive effects on system-level democracy measures in 2010. The article thus shows that political capital serves as an intervening variable between social capital and democracy and democratization.