Government is a system of rules that manages an organized community, most often a State. It can be found in almost all societies, large and small. Governments come in many forms, ranging from monarchy to dictatorship to communism to capitalism. Government is usually formed to control the actions of citizens and to ensure their safety and well being. Governments also create and enforce laws that protect property, rights, and the environment.

Why governments exist is a question that has puzzled people throughout history. Some say that it is just human nature to fight over property and privileges. Others argue that governments were necessary to protect people from each other and to create order and law in the face of chaos. The emergence of civilizations required the assertion of government authority over vast distances, the raising of armies, and taxes to pay for them. This required the agglomeration of skills and specialized knowledge that came to be known as bureaucracy.

Modern governments are typically organised into distinct institutions called branches, each with its own functions and duties. The distribution of powers among these branches is often based on political ideology and philosophy. Different types of government are also classified according to the way they apportion decisions, authority and control. These include direct democracy, representative democracy, autocracy, fascism, totalitarianism, and socialism.

In the United States, there are three sections, or branches, of the federal government: legislative, executive and judicial. The Constitution defines the structure and the powers of Congress and the President. It also describes how bills become laws and how the President can veto legislation passed by Congress. The President appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal agencies, such as the CIA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Congress and the President work together through a system of checks and balances to ensure that all branches of government do not become too powerful.

The Executive Branch of the United States Federal Government carries out the day-to-day administration of the laws created by Congress. The President appoints those who lead the fifteen executive departments, including the Cabinet, and he nominates and confirms the judges and heads of the independent federal agencies. Congress can also impeach the President and remove him from office in exceptional circumstances. Judicial authorities can overturn laws that are unconstitutional.

In addition to protecting the nation, the Federal Government provides services that are not available in private markets because they cannot be produced profitably in sufficient quantity or at low enough cost. Examples of these services include national security and education. These services, and others like health care, are sometimes called public goods. Government is able to provide these public goods because it can tax and draw upon the resources of an entire nation. It is impossible for private enterprises to protect the country from a global threat or provide education and training for all its citizens.