Government is the system by which a people organize and control themselves, and decide on the rules that they will follow. This is accomplished by the authority of elected or appointed representatives who must be held accountable for their actions. Governments are typically organised into distinct institutions called branches that have specific powers, functions, duties and responsibilities. These branches are typically separated and independent from each other, referred to as separation of powers. Governments may be multiparty or have competing political parties which compete to gain control of government offices. Governments must be fair and impartial in their decisions. They must also be transparent and allow for citizen input. Governments must provide stable and valuable public goods and services, such as a military, fire departments, schools, transportation and mail delivery. They must protect the rights of citizens, promote equality, and ensure economic freedom. They must balance these goals while respecting minority opinions and limiting the power of government officials through checks and balances.
In the United States, there are over 2 million civilian employees of the federal government. These workers can be found in a wide variety of occupations at the local, state, and federal level. Government employees are highly regarded for their ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and excel at teamwork. They must be able to think strategically, maintain confidentiality in sensitive situations and be flexible. The minimum qualifications for most government jobs are a high school diploma or equivalent, and some require advanced degrees.
The United States has a democracy with three branches of government, as well as a constitution that sets out how the country should be run. There are many other countries around the world with different types of governments, including autocracies and dictatorships.
Governments make laws to protect people, property and the environment. They also regulate the activities of businesses to make sure they are free from fraud and other harmful practices. Governments are often criticized for regulating too much, preventing businesses from functioning in a free market, but proponents argue that governments have a duty to protect the rights of individuals.
In addition to the three branches of the federal government, there are a number of independent agencies and committees that make up the executive branch. Examples of these include the Census Bureau, the Federal Housing Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These independent agencies, along with the judicial branch and legislature, constitute the legal branch of the government. The judiciary branch interprets the meaning of laws, while the legislative branch writes and passes them. The governing body of the judicial branch is the Supreme Court. The executive branch enforces the laws. And the legislature sets the budget and approves bills for the executive branch to implement. The governing body of the executive branch is the president.