Government is a group of people that have the authority to make laws, rules and regulations in a specific territory. The territory may be a country, a state within a country, or a region. Governments make laws, collect taxes and print money, and have a monopoly on the legal use of force. They also have systems of justice that list the acts that are against the law and describe the punishments for breaking the laws. Governments also set goals for their people and try to ensure that the goals are met.

The main functions of governments are to protect their citizens from danger and provide for their needs. This is done through a variety of means, including setting standards for behavior, providing social programs such as medical care or jobs, and controlling the economy. Governments also establish and enforce rules that ensure people are treated fairly and avoid a breakdown of the society.

There are many different types of government, ranging from one person (an autocracy) to the rule of the majority of a population (a democracy). In the United States, we have a federal-based system that shares power between a national (federal) government and local (state) governments.

Some people believe that the role of government should be to provide basic services such as education, healthcare and welfare for all its citizens. Others think that the role of government is to control the economy, for example through programs like price controls and tax rebates, or by regulating industries such as banking and finance.

The debate over the role of government is as old as humanity itself. Plato discussed the government of the many versus the government of the few in his Politics, and more recent philosophers have debated the idea, with some arguing that governments should be run for the benefit of society as a whole, while others argue that the responsibility of individuals to look after themselves should not be interfered with by the state.

The framers of the US Constitution wrestled with these issues, dividing government into three branches–legislative, executive and judicial–and making it clear that only Congress can declare war or make laws, and that all other powers are reserved for the states and the people. At the state level, representatives elected by their constituents act on behalf of the whole community to make decisions about taxes and budgets. The US federal government is composed of the House of Representatives and Senate, the President and his executive departments which he oversees, and the Supreme Court and other federal courts which are all overseen by the Supreme Court. This structure is intended to give each branch of the federal government checks and balances over what it can do. This keeps the government from becoming too powerful and allows for the democratic process to work effectively.