Government is the system of rules and laws that people create to protect themselves from conflict and provide law and order. It is also the way that individuals and groups organize themselves to accomplish collective goals such as economic prosperity for the nation, secure borders, and safety and well-being of citizens. Governments also offer benefits to their citizens such as education, healthcare, infrastructure for transportation, and care of the elderly. Governments may be made up of one person (an autocracy, like a monarchy), a small group of persons, such as aristocrats or clergy, or the entire population of the nation or region (a democracy, like a republic).

Governments create a wide variety of rules to govern their citizens. They can be based on principles such as equality or freedom, and they can differ in how they allocate resources, how much power they have, or what their main priorities are. People choose the governments that rule them by electing representatives to local city councils, state legislatures, or Congress. These bodies make laws and draft budgets to determine how the money they raise from taxes on property, income, and sales will be used. They also decide which services to provide to their citizens, such as public education, police and fire departments, and national parks.

In addition, governments protect common goods, such as fish in the sea and clean drinking water. These resources are available to everyone without charge, but they are in limited supply. Governments regulate access to common goods so that individuals do not take too much and leave others with nothing.

People who are interested in politics often study history to learn how different civilizations organized their governments. They may also read political theory to understand the origins of various ideologies such as capitalism, communism, or liberalism. They can also stay in touch with current events, as they are happening, to keep up with changes in the political landscape.

It is a good idea for those who are interested in learning about their country’s government to try to connect with individuals who work within that government. For example, one could write to a member of Congress or the Prime Minister to ask questions about how legislation is created and to express support for or opposition to certain bills. A great place to find these individuals is on websites operated by governmental, educational, charitable, or civic-minded organizations.

It is also a good idea to have students learn how their own country’s government works by reading books and visiting websites that are operated by governmental, educational, or charitable organizations. They can also visit their public library or local bookstore to browse introductory books on government. It is an excellent idea for students to be familiar with the three branches of the United States Government, as explained by the 18th Century philosopher Montesquieu: The legislative branch (often called Congress), the executive branch, and the judicial branch. These three parts of the government balance each other out and prevent one part from having too much power.