The Basics of Government

Government is the system of people with power to control a particular territory, often a country. Governments make laws and rules to protect people, their property, and the environment. They collect taxes, print money and regulate businesses. They also provide services like health care, education, and infrastructure. Governments can be found at all levels of society, from the city to the nation.

Historically, governments evolved as people learned that protection was easier if they stayed together and recognized that certain members of the group should have more authority than others. This recognition is the basis of sovereignty—the right to rule a specific area and its citizens without outside interference. Governments also develop a system of justice that lists the acts that are against the law and describes the punishments for breaking them. Finally, governments have a police force to enforce the laws and keep order in their areas.

While there are many different types of governments, most have some things in common. Most have a constitution, which sets the powers and limitations of the government. They have a president and other high-ranking officials. They have a legislative branch and a judicial branch, which evaluates laws. In the United States, Congress has two chambers—a smaller upper house and a larger lower house. If both chambers pass a bill, it goes to the president to be signed into law. If the president disagrees with a bill, he or she can refuse to approve it—a process known as vetoing.

Most governments are also based on the concept that a person can win office by competing in elections against other candidates. In the United States, we have a multiparty system in which multiple political parties compete to control the government.

The main purpose of government is to accomplish the goals that people want to achieve as a society. Those goals include economic prosperity, secure borders, and the safety and well-being of citizens. Governments have to ensure that all citizens have access to education and health care. They also need an infrastructure to transport goods and services. Governments may also be responsible for protecting the environment and natural resources, such as fish in the sea and clean water.

Besides providing these benefits, most governments also allow citizens to express their opinions on important issues through free speech and the press. They also allow citizens to vote, which is the most important way for citizens to exert their influence on the government.

Most governments have a bicameral legislature consisting of two chambers—a smaller upper house and the larger lower house, which make state laws. Except for Nebraska, all the states have this type of legislature. Typically, the smaller upper chamber is called the Senate and its members serve longer terms, while the larger lower house is usually called the House of Representatives and its members serve shorter terms. This structure is designed to create a balance of power between the branches of government, which is called checks and balances.