What Is Government?

Government is the people, laws and officials that define the country you live in. It is the system of people and rules that makes sure the things you need, like schools, police, firemen and mail carriers are there when you need them. It also sets and enforces the rules that tell you how to behave in public life. It can even regulate what you do in your private life, depending on the kind of government you have.

Different kinds of governments have different ways to get the job done. You may be living under a monarchy, a republic, an empire or another type of kingdom. Some are more powerful than others, but all of them have some way to govern the people they serve.

There are different ways governments can be organized and run, but most have three main parts: the legislative branch, executive branch and judicial branch. They each have the power to make laws, but they also have a system of checks and balances. This is a way to keep the branches from becoming too powerful and creating problems for their citizens.

The legislative branch is Congress, which is made up of the House of Representatives and Senate. The members of each are elected by people in their states to make laws for their area. Congress passes bills that become laws after they have been approved by the president. If a bill is vetoed by the president, Congress can override it with two-thirds of both houses of Congress voting to do so.

Another part of the legislative branch is executive departments, boards, commissions and committees that support the work of Congress. The president nominates the heads of these and other federal agencies, and the Senate confirms those nominations. The judicial branch is the Supreme Court and other federal courts, which review and decide on cases brought by people who want to challenge laws or other actions of the executive or legislative branches.

A very important function of the judicial branch is to decide if laws are constitutional. If they are not, the judicial branch will declare them unconstitutional and order them to be changed. This is a very difficult task, because the judicial branch must be fair to everyone and must make decisions based on law and evidence, not personal opinion or bias.

There are other functions that governments do, like setting standards for education and health care, protecting people from diseases and accidents and making sure people have a place to live. A large part of the budget of most governments is for foreign policy, which is when diplomats travel between countries to try to solve problems and prevent wars. Governments also have armed forces, such as police and military, to protect people from criminals and other dangers. They may also have offices that deal with the environment, science and other areas. Governments also have many international organizations that help them communicate and make agreements with other countries.