Government is a system of rules, policies and laws that are enforced by the people who live in a nation. A nation is a group of people that shares a common heritage, such as a language, race or religion. Governments are usually organized into distinct institutions, or branches, with particular powers and responsibilities. These are typically described in a constitution, which is a statement of the governing principles and philosophy. Governments are used by nations to provide stability, protect their citizens and deliver goods and services.
Different governments have different styles. These include dictatorship (a single person or small group with power based on force), empire, feudalism and democracy (rule by the people). In most countries, citizens are allowed to vote for their preferred government.
The most common type of national government is a democratic republic. In this kind of system, the citizens elect their representatives to serve in government and a constitutional document sets out the rules for how the country should be run. Many democratic republics have a constitution with specific clauses that limit the president’s power and other aspects of their government.
Some countries have a monarchy, where a king or queen is the head of state and the leader of their nation. There are also some religiously based countries with their own versions of monarchy, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Regardless of their style, all governments have certain things in common. They all make laws, they are financed by taxes and they are regulated to keep their citizens safe. Governments also have a role in protecting our environment and encouraging education.
All of these responsibilities are accomplished through three main branches of government: the legislative branch, executive branch and judiciary branch. The legislative branch makes the laws, it is the source of the constitution and it oversees the executive and judicial branches. It is also responsible for setting tax rates and determining the way in which money is distributed among the various levels of government.
The executive branch executes the laws passed by Congress and makes sure that everyone follows them. The judicial branch explains the laws and determines their validity. It is also responsible for the Supreme Court. The President leads the executive branch and makes sure that the laws are followed, negotiates with other leaders and is our representative when dealing with other nations.
The judiciary branch is important for making sure that the executive and legislative branches are not abusing their power. James Madison wrote that it was impossible to create angel politicians who would never try to grab more power than they should, so the best way to prevent this from happening is to have a system of checks and balances where one branch cannot become too powerful. This was what he called the separation of powers.