In Aztec times the king, known as the tlatoani, had almost complete power over the empire. He did not rule every single city separately (a job for the nobles) but he did enjoy a life in paradise in the city of Tenochitlan. One of the most prestigious rulers was King Itzcoatl.
The only reason I'm here is because of my dad....
Nobles ruled the different cities inside of the empire. The king could not contain all cities inside the empire at once so nobles were posted. Nobles were usually told to follow the emperor's rules in their cities but they often had their own rules and layout.
I'm gonna create my own layout. I don't like how the emperor bosses me around!
It's that noble dude!
As did other civilizations in the past the Aztecs had their own set of laws that their people had to abide to.
Patolli only on Thursdays!?
The official rules
Punishment for a crime was often very severe. Death was definitely a common consequence. However, the first time a person committed a crime, they could plead forgiveness to a preacher and they would escape punishment. However, this only happened the first time.
I plead forgiveness! I'll weed your lawn if you want me to!
People in the Empire had to pay tribute to the government in order to sustain it. Tribute was paid in many different forms, like clothing and food (including animals). If tribute was not paid the whole tribe would be sacrificed to the gods.
The government's ripping me off...
Eventually the Aztec Empire came to an end when the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes overthrew the Empire. The last Meso-american civilization came to an end.