Government is a system of people who rule over an organized community, usually a state. Its main function is to protect the rights and interests of its citizens. However, it can also be a source of conflict and discord. For this reason, understanding the nature of government is an important first step in understanding how a government functions.
The government provides a variety of goods and services to its citizens. Some of these goods are known as public goods, and they are generally free for everyone to use. Examples include public education, public transportation, housing for the poor, and health care. The government can provide these services through taxation, resource mobilization, and citizen input.
Governments come in many forms, including representative government, autocracy, and democracy. Each system has its own benefits and challenges, and the duties of each differ. In general, though, governments seek to ensure economic prosperity, national borders, and the safety of its citizens. The benefits provided by governments differ according to country and governmental system, but some common benefits of a government are health care and education, as well as public infrastructure.
The evolution of governments began when humans learned that it was easier to protect themselves in groups. This led to the concept of sovereignty. Under sovereignty, a group has the right to be free of outside interference. The Federal Reserve Board, for example, was established to keep the economy stable and prevent major economic crises. Further, governments have a duty to protect the rights and welfare of their citizens.
The executive branch consists of the president, Vice President, and the heads of executive departments. They must be confirmed by a simple majority of the Senate before they can take office. The judicial branch, meanwhile, focuses on interpreting laws and regulations. The President and the Senate select the Supreme Court Justice and all other federal courts.
The powers and functions of the Government are defined in the Constitution of each country. Governments typically have three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. In most cases, the federal and state governments are modeled after their respective national governments, consisting of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Each state is unique in its constitution and therefore has different rules regarding government.
The United States government is divided into federal, state, and local governments. The Constitution is the fundamental legal authority for the United States government. State governments establish local governments within their territory and delegate certain powers to local governments. In the United States, each level of government has three branches, each with its own distinct duties. Moreover, each branch has a judicial branch, which reviews laws for legitimacy.
A limited government seeks minimal intervention in commercial activity. This type of government is often associated with laissez-faire economics. Adam Smith defined laissez-faire economics in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). A laissez-faire government lets supply and demand drive the economy.