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History 1: American

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  1. Lesson 1: Orientation
    10 Steps
  2. Lesson 2: The Banner of the Sun (Meso-America)
    13 Steps
  3. Lesson 3: Brave New World (The Early Explorers)
    11 Steps
  4. Lesson 4: The Colossus of Empire (The Colonies)
    11 Steps
  5. Lesson 5: Stability & Change (The Reformational Colonies)
    11 Steps
  6. Lesson 6: A City Upon A Hill (The Puritans)
    12 Steps
  7. Lesson 7: A Foreign War at Home (Wars of Control)
    11 Steps
  8. Lesson 8: Grace, the Founder of Liberty (The Great Awakening)
    14 Steps
  9. Lesson 9: Fathers of Independence (Adams, Franklin, Witherspoon, & Henry)
    11 Steps
  10. Lesson 10: Liberty or Death (The Declaration of Independence)
    11 Steps
  11. Lesson 11: Awesome Providence (The War of Independence 1)
    11 Steps
  12. Lesson 12: Awesome Providence (The War of Independence 2)
    11 Steps
  13. Lesson 13: A More Perfect Union (The Constitution)
    12 Steps
  14. Lesson 14: Federal Headship (George Washington)
    11 Steps
  15. Lesson 15: How Good & Pleasant It Is (Adams & Jefferson)
    14 Steps
  16. Lesson 16: Manifest Destiny (Settlers, Explorers, & War)
    11 Steps
  17. Lesson 17: Word & Deed (John Quincy Adams & Andrew Jackson)
    12 Steps
  18. Lesson 18: The Original United Nations (Expansion of the Early U.S.)
    11 Steps
  19. Lesson 19: Idols of Mercy (Revivals, Counterfeits, & Art)
    12 Steps
  20. Lesson 20: A House Divided 1 (The Age of Compromise & Divided Cultures)
    11 Steps
  21. Lesson 21: A House Divided 2 (Abraham Lincoln & Secession)
    13 Steps
  22. Lesson 22: The Second War for Independence (The War Between the States 1)
    11 Steps
  23. Lesson 23: Brother Against Brother (The War Between the States 2)
    11 Steps
  24. Lesson 24: The Lost Cause (Reconstruction)
    11 Steps
  25. Lesson 25: A New Normal (The West, Immigration, & Robber Barons)
    11 Steps
  26. Lesson 26: Theology As Biography (Theodore Roosevelt & Booker T. Washington)
    12 Steps
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Transcript

The following transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors in spelling and/or grammar. It is provided for assistance in note-taking and review.

Welcome back. This is the final lecture in this week’s lesson. And today we’re going to take a look at how the Mesoamerican cultures in many ways came to an end. Once you finish this, you’ll have an exam to take, an exam that will actually test you and actually see how many of these stories and these key terms you actually remembered and can actually navigate yourself through.

So listen carefully, and if you need to, you can rewatch this material. Our lesson really begins with the Spanish, because when the Spanish came over here, and as I mentioned, the Mayans disappeared mysteriously, the Aztecs were conquered directly by the Spanish, they were conquered by Cortes, and the Incas were conquered by Pizarro, another Spanish conquistador.

And when historians often look at this time period, they’re often a little perplexed, because the Aztecs and the Incas greatly outnumbered the Spanish. They had thousands and thousands and thousands of more people they could call upon to fight against the Spanish. So then people start to think, “Oh, well, the Spanish, they had better weapons and better armor, and that’s how they were able to defeat the Aztecs and the Incas.” But that’s not really true. In fact, the Spanish have recorded stories for us in which they say that the obsidian weapons used by the Mesoamericans were so strong and so sharp that they could slice through their steel armor and they could break their steel blades in open battle.

And so it really wasn’t weaponry that helped the Spanish, it certainly wasn’t numbers, and it certainly wasn’t anything physical like that. In other words, the whole point that I want to make here at the end is that the Spanish were able to defeat the Aztecs and the Incas particularly because they had a worldview that made sense, a worldview that had hope and life behind it, whereas the Aztecs and the Incas had a worldview that did not make sense and a worldview that had death and despair behind it.

To begin our actual tale here at the end, we need to understand what happened in the years leading up to the Spanish landing there at Mexico to take over the Aztecs.

And the first thing that occurred that the Aztecs found strange was the lake around their capital city of Tenochtitlan began to stir up and began to have massive waves all around the city that beat against those chinampas gardens and beat against their homes and their palaces and their pyramids.

And what’s strange about this was there was no storm. Not only was there no storm, but there wasn’t even an earthquake which could cause something like this either. It seemed as if the waves moved on their own without any type of wind or any type of earth moving event to cause them to move.

So it seemed very strange to them and they saw that as a sign that something good or bad was coming. Next thing that happened was they had this astronomy tower right in the middle of their capital city that caught on fire and there was no explanation for why it caught on fire.

couldn’t find any, it hadn’t even been lit up by any torches, so there was no fire already there, there was no lightning that caused it to happen, it seemed to just burst into flames.

And if that wasn’t enough, they then saw three comets in a single year. And so the Aztecs, like most Mesoamericans who saw history unfolding in terms of fate and in terms of signs being shown in the heavens, began to believe that something or someone was coming back.

And so when When the Spanish landed, the Aztecs had been getting ready for the return of Quetzalcoatl, but they had completely forgotten that Quetzalcoatl was against human sacrifice.

So the way they prepared for his return was by having the biggest sacrifice they had ever had. That’s why when the Spanish came into the city of Tenochtitlan, they said that it stank worse than all the slaughterhouses of Europe combined. So when the Spanish came and Cortes came, they were immediately greeted as Quetzalcoatl and Quetzalcoatl’s companions. The Incans themselves also had all kinds of superstitious events going on. They also saw comets. They also had a palace that was set on fire without any apparent reason. And they also saw something strange in the air one day. They saw an eagle being killed by several hawks. And they saw that as a sign that their eagle, their emperor, was going to be killed by some type of group of warriors. And so when Pizarro came and he agreed to the Incans, the Incan emperor thought that he was Viracoca returned as he said he would come back.

All of these things combined together to make it so that the Aztecs and the Incans were already thinking that they had not done well enough to serve the gods.

The Spanish had that advantage. But the real advantage is this. When Cortes went to conquer the Aztecs, because he had fewer men and because his weapons were really no superior to the Aztec weaponry, he simply did something that exploited the way the Aztecs lived.

Cortes invited all those civilizations that surrounded that Aztec empire, all those civilizations who the Aztecs had taken their sons and daughters to sacrifice to the gods for really no good reason.

And he invited those civilizations to join his army to defeat their Aztec oppressors. As a result, in an open battle before the capital of Tenochtitlan, he was able to defeat the larger and in many ways superior Aztec army.

He was able to defeat them because he used their own sin against them. Pizarro, his story is not a whole lot different down in the Incan Empire. If you remember, the Incans built their whole system based upon a pyramid where the emperor was on top and he gave all the orders and nobody below him could give orders unless they had come from the emperor.

So Pizarro had a very simple idea. It was kind of treacherous. It was a form of deceit. He invited the emperor of the Incas over for dinner and then he had him arrested. And once he was arrested, the Prefects and the governors and all of those people below them had no one to follow. They had no one to actually give them orders. As we look at the fact that the Spanish were able to so easily conquer the Aztecs and so easily conquer the Incas, we have to understand that this is really a worldview issue.

In fact, there are three primary worldview reasons why the Spanish were able to conquer the Incas. to do with manpower or weaponry or battle strategy. These are all spiritual and idea reasons because ideas and spiritual consequences always have physical consequences. And the first of these ideas was the fact that the Spanish, with all of their sin issues and with all of their flaws, as we’ll unpack in coming lectures, the Spanish still had an idea that there was a distinction between God as creator and man as creation. So it It wasn’t as if some men were somehow more like God than others. It was simply the fact that there is God who is infinite and there’s his creation who is finite, and he made everything in creation. Secondly, the Spanish understood the whole concept that man is made in God’s image. You cannot be any more or any less made in God’s image than anyone else. So they understood this whole concept of what we call “imago de,” the whole image of God. Third, the Spanish understood that fate is not what rules the universe. Fate is not what actually governs the lives of men. It’s providence. It’s God personally and with very specific and redeeming purpose working in the world that actually brings about His kingdom. So even though the way that the Spanish were able to conquer over the Aztecs, and especially the Incas, even though it doesn’t always have the most noble goals, We have to understand that they took out an evil and dark empire that really is the beginning of the history of the Americas.

And that’s what we’ll be taking a look at for the rest of this year.

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