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This paper presents a general approach for the stability analysis of the time-domain finite-element method (TDFEM) for electromagnetic simulations. Derived from the discrete system analysis, the approach determines the stability by analyzing the root-locus map of a characteristic equation and evaluating the spectral radius of the finite element system matrix. The approach is applicable to the TDFEM simulation involving dispersive media and to various temporal discretization schemes such as the central difference, forward difference, backward difference, and Newmark methods. It is shown that the stability of the TDFEM is determined by the material property and by the temporal and spatial discretization schemes. The proposed approach is applied to a variety of TDFEM schemes, which include: (1) time-domain finite-element modeling of dispersive media; (2) time-domain finite element-boundary integral method; (3) higher order TDFEM; and (4) orthogonal TDFEM. Numerical results demonstrate the validity of the proposed approach for stability analysis.