Yeah, sort of. In Precolumbian times the basic unit of politics was the altepetl, the city-state, and larger entities didn't abolish these units, instead they figured out how to work alongside them. A smaller altepetl might have military forces too small, and neighbors too militarily strong/culturally influential, for the leader to have full authority over all matters political and cultural; some of these formed fairly equal confederations, like Tlaxcala. A large altepetl like Tenochtitlan, which alone held a few hundred thousand people, has its subunits but collectively has the force/influence to make its ruler a very important individual; in their case, they more or less openly dominated their "confederation" partners Texcoco and Tlacopan. However, its own population and the population of other regions will probably still have control over most of their own basic resources, power comes from the religious authority of the ruler and from a more feudal method of making claims (demands for tax/tribute, paid in luxury resources) and threatening force for non-compliance. So the bureaucracy forms around the need to coordinate tax payments and labor demands for large projects, with water as another one of its functions rather than the most important function of all. Governance in Mexico probably looks a lot like the Aztec precedent or even feudal Japan in some ways-- dealing with a large number of smallish units with the power of army and ceremony.So you have localized absolutism? Every sheriff a petty emperor?