What Is Government?

Government is the group that sets and enforces rules for an organized community, usually a state. A government also makes sure the group has things it needs, such as clean water and roads. Its members are called a population, and they can either support or oppose the actions of the government. Many governments have a constitution that states its principles and philosophy.

People have different ideas about what a government should do and how it should do it, but most believe a government is necessary to protect its citizens. It should create rules and laws that are fair, and it should provide services such as schools, police and fire departments, and mail delivery.

There are many types of governments, and each is shaped by its own culture, environment, history, and political ideas. Governments are often based on democratic, totalitarian or monarchical systems.

Governments around the world seek a variety of goals, from economic prosperity to secure borders to protecting its citizens and providing benefits that the community as a whole needs. Governments also make decisions about the distribution of resources within a nation.

The structure of a government can vary greatly, from a one-party system to a multiparty one. Some countries have a system of government that has multiple branches, while others have a single branch with broad powers and limited responsibility. Governments can also have a clear division of roles or a system of checks and balances.

Throughout human history, people have found it easier to organize themselves in groups or communities. These communities can be villages, towns, cities, or countries. Each one has a leader, and that person is often known as a president, prime minister or head of state. Some governments have a legislative branch, an executive branch and a judiciary. The legislative and executive branches are responsible for making laws, while the judiciary explains and applies the law.

People can be part of a government by electing representatives to city councils, state legislatures and Congress. These bodies make laws to govern their regions and determine how funds for services will be raised, typically by taxes on income or property sales. Government agencies at the local, state and national levels allocate these funds to projects such as maintaining streets and schools, educating children, managing forests and wildlife, and policing and fire protection.

Each branch of the federal government has its own responsibilities. The legislative branch is Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Bills that make up legislation go through a process of research, discussion, and changes before they are voted on. A bill can be approved or rejected, and a president can use the power of veto to send a rejected bill back to Congress with suggested changes. The executive branch is the president and the cabinet. The judicial branch is the Supreme Court, which hears and decides legal cases. Each branch has the ability to overturn a previous decision of another, and the courts can check on whether government policies are constitutional.