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The Fall Of Political Regimes In The Early Modern Era

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The fall of political regimes in the early modern era

There were five political regimes looked at during this section of the semester; the Mani-Congo, the French, the English, the Aztecs and the Incans. Each of these political regimes came to a downfall, or alteration, during the early modern era. The process by which these five regimes fell or were altered can be separated into two categories. Not surprisingly, the line that is the easiest to draw between the two categories is simply the Atlantic Ocean. The downfall of the five regimes can be separated into New World and Old World. The Old World consists of the French, the English, and the Mani-Congo. The New World consists of the Aztec and the Incans.

It has been well documented that the fall of the Aztec and the Inca can be attributed to Cortes and other Spanish conquistadors. It is true that the political regimes of the Aztec and Inca were conquered militarily by more advanced, yet smaller in number, forces. However, even with their superior technology, the Spaniards greatest weapon was something that they didn't even know they had brought with them: disease.

Diseases such as smallpox, measles, plague, and typhus were unknown in the New World, and thus, the people of the Aztec and Inca were not able to defend themselves from these devastating diseases. The people of the Old World, however, had lived with these diseases and their bodies had adapted to fight them off.

As the Spanish spread across the new continents conquering territory, the diseases they carried in their bodies spread before them. These airborne diseases spread quickly through the regions and infected entire cities before the Spanish even arrived. Theses diseases weaken those that infected. People were unable to even move or get out of bed to defend themselves. Any city that was infected was an easy target for conquest. Had these cities not been so easily infected with diseases, the Aztec and Inca would not have been so easily conquered. The Aztecs, being a military culture, would have been able to withstand, and even repel, an onslaught from the Spanish. If it wasn't for smallpox and other diseases, I don't believe the Aztec or the Inca would have fallen to the Spanish.

Another aspect of the Incan and Aztec political structure that hurt them during this time is that each was an autocracy. If the emperor of these nations became sick and died before a successor was found the nation would be without a leader and would turn to civil war. A civil war, coupled with an epidemic, made the Aztec and Inca conquerable by a small force.

Across Ð''the Pond' sits the Old World and the remaining three regimes still needed to be discussed; the Mani-Congo, the French, and the English. Of the three, only the Mani-Congo truly had a downfall in their political regime, the others went through major alterations to their balance of power. However, each change to their individual political regimes can be attributed to one thing; money.

The Mani-Congo Nzinga Mbemba ruled along the Congo River in Africa. The first Europeans to find this empire were the Portuguese. At first, there was great friendship between the two nations. Nzinga, who later became Dom Affonso after converting to Catholicism, and the King of Portugal continually wrote letters to each other praising their friendship and calling each other Ð''brothers.' In exchange for slaves and trade goods the Portuguese King promised to help the Mani-Congo in any way possible. This appeared to be a great bargain to the Mani-Congo. To the Portuguese, it WAS a great bargain.

The Mani-Congo, believing that the King of Portugal thought that they were of equal stature, did everything that was requested of him. In return the Mani-Congo also asked for favors, however, all of his requests went unanswered. This was a prelude to a long, slow, and diminishing of the Mani-Congo's power in the region.

The Portuguese, however, hadn't initialed planned to destabilize the region. They assumed that the land around the Mani-Congo's were his, just like a feudal lord has control over his surrounding lands. This was a grave mistake on the part of the Portuguese. The Mani-Congo allowed the Portuguese to take back some slaves to Portugal; the Portuguese assumed they could take any inhabitant of that land. As word spread to the neighboring lands of the Mani-Congo that their people were being enslaved the rulers of those lands were upset. This caused the region to become unstable, with neighboring lands angry at the Mani-Congo. As these events were unfolding the Portuguese were building up their forces in the area and saw an opportunity to take control of the area. The Portuguese exploited this area for the trade of slaves and other cargo.

In a sharp contrast to the Mani-Congo, the French and the English went through drastic changes in their political regimes. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was an ever-increasing expansion to new parts of the world. New territories were constantly being discovered. Along with new land came new opportunities to make money. Each new area contained strange and new artifacts that could be traded for or taken by force. Either way, trade and commerce was becoming the major reason for expansion into new areas.

The English and the French were two nations that were able to adapt to this growing trend of commerce. The French were an absolute monarchy. But, being with Henry IV and Sully, we see a change in the ruling power of the French government. Recognizing the merchants hold a lot of wealth in the nation, Henry starts to make ties with the merchants



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