Government is the group that controls an organized community, such as a country or state. A government has laws that enforce the rules of the community and a military to protect it. Governments also provide services like mail delivery, schools, and parks. They regulate access to common goods that are in limited supply, such as fish in the sea or clean water. Governments can protect these goods by limiting how much people take from them and by charging people to use them. Governments can also compel citizens to obey the laws.

The word government comes from the Latin govndere, which means “to govern.” The concept of governance evolved as people discovered that it was easier to protect themselves and their belongings when they lived together in groups. This led to the formation of political systems that gave some members more power than others. It is important to recognize that not all forms of governments are equal in terms of effectiveness or fairness.

Traditionally, most nations have created governments that are a mix of autocracy and democracy. For example, in some monarchies, the king or queen remains the ultimate source of power. But in many of these countries the king or queen shares some of their powers with others who advise them. This is known as a constitutional monarchy. In the United States, for example, the President has big responsibilities but is helped by the Cabinet, a group of people who handle many of the day-to-day tasks of running the government. The President also consults with other leaders from around the world.

Another important job of government is to create and protect laws that help a nation achieve its goals. This is why most governments have a legislative branch, or Congress. In the United States, Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 435 representatives, which are evenly divided among all 50 states. The Senate has 100 members, with two senators per state. The number of senators changes as new states join the country.

Governments also make sure that the laws they pass and enforce are fair and that everyone obeys them. This is done through the judicial branch, which interprets laws and checks how well other branches of government are doing their jobs. The judicial branch also evaluates laws and decides whether they are constitutional. If they are not, the judicial branch will declare them unenforceable. This allows other branches of the government to correct them. For example, if the President passes an Executive Order that violates a law passed by Congress, the judicial branch can reverse it. The other branches of the government may also overturn an unconstitutional law if it is found that it is in violation of their own duties. This is called checks and balances.