The Basics of Government


A government is the system of rules and people that rule an organized group of people, called a country, state, or other political entity. Governments are responsible for security, foreign affairs, the economy, and public services. They are also in charge of providing citizens with social programs such as health care, education, and housing. Governments are different all over the world, but they all have the same core function: to protect and provide for their citizens.

The way governments do this differs based on their type of political system. Some governments are democracies, in which citizens vote for their leaders. Others are authoritarian, in which one person or small group has power over the entire population. Still others combine democratic and authoritarian features to give citizens some freedoms while limiting other ones. The names of these governments often reflect their type, such as the United States or Russia.

Governments also set laws that regulate what can and cannot happen in their country, and they often have a military force to enforce them. Governments also collect taxes to pay for the things they do, and they may print money. They also usually have a monopoly on the legal use of force.

Most people think of a government as something that is mostly concerned with the behavior of citizens in public life, but it often makes and enforces laws that affect private lives, too. Governments like ours are also tasked with building and maintaining infrastructure such as roads and railways, and providing educational, medical, and welfare services.

The United States has three branches of government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The President leads the Executive Branch, which includes about 5 million workers. The Legislative Branch has two chambers: the Senate and House of Representatives. The Constitution allows the President to veto bills passed by Congress, and the House of Representatives can pass override votes to approve those vetoes. The Judiciary, meanwhile, interprets the laws by hearing and making decisions on various cases.

While these functions seem straightforward, the details of how a country’s government operates are complicated and debated. Some people think that it is important for a government to help its citizens by offering social programs. But other people feel that it is a waste of taxpayer money, and that a citizen should be responsible for his or her own welfare. Still, it is true that six in seven households receive some kind of government assistance. That’s why it is important for schools to teach students about the roles of a government and how different types of governments operate.