What was the Aztec political structure?

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besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Aztec's had a very powerful empire. The main job of the ruler was to take over more territory and maintain it. He was in charge of the military and it was his job to lead successful military conquests. One of their main goals was to take over other tribes in order to gain more land for themselves. They did, however, let the conquered tribes continue to live on their own but these conquered tribes had to follow Aztec law. The more land a ruler conquered, the more powerful he became. If he wasn't able to conquer more land, he would be replaced with a new ruler. The goal was expansion.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Within their own home territory, the Aztec empire was a military aristocracy.  The empire was headed by an emperor who held the bulk of the political power.  Under him there was an aristocracy that was hereditary, but which was originally selected for military merit.

In dealings with territories that they had conquered, the Aztecs did not try to exert actual political control.  Instead, they allowed the conquered tribes to run themselves.  The tribes had to pay tribute to the Aztecs and had to do what the Aztecs told them in terms of "foreign" policy.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Aztecs were Native Americans who had a large empire in the region in Mexico in fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The Aztec empire was destroyed completely when Spanish conquered it in 1521.

The Aztec people were ruled by an emperor they called huay tlatoani, meaning great speaker. The emperor had great powers but consulted a council of nobles before taking major decisions. The emperor selected people for high offices based on the service rendered by them.

Aztecs maintained military units throughout its empire to keep it secure. They waged wars to expand their empire and to take prisoners for sacrifices to gods. Conquered towns paid heavy taxes in form of goods to the Aztec empire.

The Aztec society was divided in four classes: (1) nobles, (2) commoners, (3) serfs and (4) slaves. Families of Nobles and commoners owned land. Serfs worked on lands of Nobles. Slaves were considered property of their owners but their children were born free.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The Aztec Empire was built on earlier empires. They were excellent organizers and had developed specific offices to handle specific affairs, such as trade, markets, etc. The intensive agriculture system was under state control which determined prices. They had a redistributive economy, a kinship transformed to hierarchy, but they allowed ethnic groups to survive.

The political system was highly dependent on a system of tributes owed to the empire and sacrifices so the gods would favor the empire and its peoples in the transaction of every day affairs.

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