A government is simply the political system or group of individuals governing an entity, usually a nation. Governments normally have a legislative body, an executive body, and a judicial body. The governments main task is to provide services, for example laws regulating natural resources, taxation, education, healthcare, crime and punishment. However, unlike businesses that can expand into many different markets, governments are bounded by the terms of their contract with their constituents, namely elected officials from each of the nations involved. Unlike private companies, governments do not have the option to expand into unknown markets or technologies. Examples of governmental organizations are: the Federal government, state and local government, the United Nations, The World Bank, The Red Cross, The US military and the FDA.
Government is also divided into two different categories, those of direct government and indirect government. Direct government consists of the executive branch, the national legislature, and local government employees. Indirect government includes national, state and local governments, the United States Congress, the Supreme Court, cabinet agencies and independent regulatory bodies. The US House and Senate maintain direct oversight of the federal government, while state and local governments retain oversight of their own agencies through their appointed officials.
All major political subdivisions in the US to manage their own affairs, but the US has a divided system of government with divided powers. Statehood provides most of the political clout in America. States with a strong majority of populations constitute the “territorial” states. The four territorial states are Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and Hawaii. These states have differing degrees of government. The remaining states are called “federally represented” states and share the powers of both the federal government and the territorial branches.
The powers exercised by the branches of government are directly derived from the US constitution, which grants broad powers to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government. The national legislature creates the federal laws and national policies, while the executive branches enforce them through the federal executive branch. State governments levy taxes, regulate private businesses and levy property interests, issue licenses for businesses and impose laws that bind residents and non-residents alike.
Some scholars argue that local government constitutes a significant portion of the American polity and argue that political subdivision is an integral aspect of American government. They further argue that the United States was formed out of a confederacy of slave states after the American revolution, and that the confederacy gradually evolved into two separate political entities after the union with the other states. According to this argument, the decentralization of the United States prior to the Civil War created numerous political subdivisions, most notably the Southern states which later became the states of the Union. Since each political subdivision of the United States is autonomous in regards to its affairs, there is no doubt that political subdivision is an important feature of American government.
The political parties that dominate American politics do not necessarily share the same principles regarding support for a constitutional system and limited government. The differences between left and right seem to stem from the different philosophies promoted by the two. On the one hand, the left promotes freedom, peaceful revolution and direct democracy, while the right believes that a strong centralized government and low taxation are essential to ensure social welfare. Although the two fundamentally differ in their ideology, the reality of governing in America today is a complex mixture of a few fundamental philosophies held by both parties. Therefore, one could state that the difference between liberalism and conservatism is actually an evolution of democracy and socialism rather than a difference of principle.