The Basics of Government

Government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a country. It has many functions including legislating (making laws), regulating, and providing security. It has a monopoly on the legal use of force to control behavior and enforce its laws. Government can be local, state, national or international in scope. Government leaders make decisions about the most important issues facing a nation, from the quality of education to the safety of borders. The type of government in place determines whether your voice and concerns will be magnified or minimized in those decisions.

One of the earliest reasons for government was to provide protection for its citizens, especially from each other. This is still a very important function for many governments today.

Another major purpose of government is to protect property rights and provide law and order. Some philosophers argue that it is human nature to fight over property and that the only way to prevent this from happening is for someone else, preferably a centralized authority, to protect property rights and keep peace. Governments can also help with other kinds of needs by providing social programs to its citizens. These programs can include medical care and food for the poor. Some of these programs are very controversial and can create resentment from those who feel that they should be responsible for their own welfare.

Throughout history, different types of governments have evolved to meet the various needs of communities. Some have been autocracies or aristocracies in which a small number of people are allowed to rule; others, like the United States, have been based on democratic principles where everyone has equal voting rights. In modern times, some thinkers have promoted the idea of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Governments are made up of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Each of these branches has its own functions and responsibilities, but they work together to govern a country. The judicial branch interprets the law and evaluates cases brought to it by other courts. Its members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate in the legislative branch.

The legislative branch makes laws and passes them on to the executive branch for implementation. It can use its power to amend, veto or defer legislation. It also has the power to establish policy through a “necessary and proper” clause in the Constitution or through its own directives.

Governments can also regulate access to some natural resources, such as wildlife and public lands, so that enough is available for all to use. They can also regulate some other resources, such as public schools or mail services, so that they are provided in a consistent manner regardless of the wealth or poverty of those who want to use them. The concept of regulating access to common goods is called the public goods problem. It is a difficult issue to solve. Governments are still struggling with it today.