A government is a system through which people manage a nation, state or community. Governments make laws, secure the borders of a nation and provide citizens with services that help people survive, work, play and live more comfortably. Governments can be divided into three distinct groups: legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative branch makes laws; the executive branch carries out those laws; and the judicial branch evaluates the laws.
There are many different types of governments throughout the world. Each government has its own goals and objectives, but most aim to bring economic prosperity to their nations, protect the safety of their citizens, and ensure their well-being by providing them with education, medical care and infrastructure for transportation.
Governments are also responsible for preserving the environment, creating a fair and efficient business marketplace and checking the actions of businesses to make sure they’re not taking advantage of other people. These are all tasks that would not be possible without a government.
People elect representatives to govern them at the local, state and national level. The elected officials make laws and draft budgets to determine how funds that are collected will be allocated. At the local level, these funds might go toward things like building public schools, hiring police and fire departments, or repairing roads and bridges. At the state and federal levels, these funds may be earmarked for things like building a new college or maintaining state parks.
Each level of government has its own methods of raising money and allocating resources, but all of these levels strive to accomplish the same basic goals. At the national level, Congress, the President and other high-ranking government officials make decisions about a variety of issues for the country as a whole. They have the authority to levy taxes on citizens and businesses, raise money through bond issues, and authorize borrowing to cover expenses.
The President and other members of the Cabinet are responsible for carrying out the laws made by Congress. They are assisted by the judicial branch, which includes the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The judicial branch also has the power to interpret and apply laws and to rule on cases brought by individual citizens, corporations and states.
The judicial branch also rules on the constitutionality of legislation passed by Congress and other governmental bodies. The Constitution provides guidelines for how these laws are interpreted. In addition, the judicial branch protects civil rights and prohibits slavery. It is the duty of all citizens to participate in government by making their opinions known to the people they elect to represent them. It is easier to achieve that goal when there is openness and accountability from all levels of government. This is a fundamental principle of democracy. It is why Western democracies, including the United States, allow their citizens to vote. The freedom to voice opinions and participate in the democratic process is what distinguishes the United States from other countries around the world.