Government is the system of rules and responsibilities that a group of people creates and enforces to make sure everyone plays by them. This includes deciding how to use things that belong to everyone, such as fish in the sea or clean drinking water, so that no one person takes everything and leaves others with nothing. Government also makes sure laws and decisions are fair. And it protects things that are important to all, such as safety in schools, roads and parks, and equality of opportunity for all people.

Government has been around for thousands of years. There are many different kinds of governments, and the way they are organized varies by country and culture. Each form of government reflects a combination of social and cultural conditions, economic organization, intellectual and philosophical influences, geography or climate, and historical circumstance.

Some of the most common forms of government include democracies, totalitarian regimes and a wide range of authoritarian systems. There are also monarchies, oligarchies, timocracies, theocracies and various hybrid forms of these systems. A government’s structure is also shaped by how people get to choose their leaders and what kind of policies are implemented.

There are three levels of government in the United States: national, state and local. Each level has its own set of rules. Representatives elected by citizens try to secure funding for projects that will benefit those living in their area. Local governments provide services like parks and recreation, police and fire departments, housing services, public transportation and municipal courts. State governments allocate money for state colleges and universities, maintenance of state roads and bridges and wildlife management. Federal governments allocate money for defense, Social Security and pensions for veterans and other programs.

The founding fathers of the United States created a government that was designed to work well. They broke down the government into branches of lawmaking and judging, called the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. These three branches are designed to check and balance each other to prevent politicians from getting too powerful. For example, if Congress wanted to go to war, it would require the support of the president and the judicial branch. The legislative and judicial branches also have ways to overturn a presidential veto.

These checks and balances help keep the government of the United States working fairly. They also help keep the president from attempting to take over all the power of the other branches. James Madison argued that it was impossible to make all politicians angels who will never attempt to grab more power than they should, so the best way to control ambition is to design a government with lots of competing powers. This also helps to ensure that the government will be able to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies.