What Is Government?
Government is the system of people who manage an organized community, generally a State. Governments are primarily responsible for the direction of a nation, but they also enforce policies and rules, raise funds, and provide goods and services. Governments are usually centered on three areas: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Government is a necessary part of human society, and it provides stability, order, and security for all citizens.
Historically, different societies have developed diverse forms of government. Different governments have been based on such factors as social and cultural conditions, economic organization, intellectual influences, geography or climate, and historical circumstance. Each country’s government is a reflection of its environment and ideals.
A common way to classify government types is to determine who has the power to rule: whether it is one person (an autocracy), a small group of people (an oligarchy), or the whole population of the community (a democracy). Many political systems are combinations of these types of government, and identifying them accurately can be difficult.
In the United States, people elect representatives to city councils and state legislatures, who make laws. The president nominates federal officials, and the Senate confirms those nominations. The Supreme Court and other federal courts (the judicial branch) check the powers of Congress and the presidency. Congress can override a presidential veto with a two-thirds vote of both chambers.
Governments also raise money by taxing the community’s income and property. The money is used to fund services, such as police and fire departments and public education. Some government agencies are independent from the executive and legislative branches, such as the postal service and NASA.
The Founders of the United States designed our government to protect our natural rights. They believed that if the government protected our freedoms, the people would see it as an authority they must respect. They would enter into a “social contract” with the government, agreeing to give up certain freedoms in exchange for the protection of their rights by the government.
Ultimately, the purpose of government is to meet the needs and wants of the people. To do that, government must be transparent and accountable to the people. It must allow the people to review the process and documents that lead to governmental determinations, and it must be accessible when they want to take action on an issue. The ability to have an active role in the decisions that affect them is fundamental to a free society. Government must also provide an outlet for citizen complaints, and it must address those concerns. It must do all of this without smothering people with excessive regulations and bureaucracy. If a government tries to hide information or smother people with red tape, its actions are counterproductive and violate the principles of our Constitution. These are the values and goals of our system of government. It is the people’s government, and it should reflect their interests. The public has the right to know how their money is being spent and what the underlying reasons for certain decisions are.