Governments make the rules for a nation or community and ensure that everyone is treated fairly by those rules. They also protect citizens from outside interference and provide for their well-being and happiness. There are many different ways for governments to do these things. But there are some basic principles that most governments try to follow. These include: Majority rule with minority rights; Accountability of elected officials; Limited government and a Bill of Rights; and checks and balances between branches.
These principles are what the founding fathers based their U.S. Constitution on. The Constitution explains how the three branches of our federal government are structured: The Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. This structure is important because it helps to keep our government running smoothly and efficiently.
The main function of the legislative branch is to make laws. The executive branch enforces those laws. The judicial branch makes sure that the law is applied equally and fairly. The president is responsible for the executive and judicial branches. He also leads the nation in international affairs.
Another job of the government is to provide certain social services for its citizens. This can be anything from education to food. Governments are able to provide these kinds of social services because they can tax their citizens, draw upon their resources and compel citizen compliance. Private businesses are not able to do this, because they would have a hard time raising enough money to pay for such programs.
Governments also regulate public access to natural resources, like fish in the sea and clean drinking water. This is important because these resources are in limited supply and if some people take more than their fair share, there will not be enough for others to enjoy. Governments can regulate these kinds of goods by making laws that prohibit pollution and requiring permits to harvest them.
One controversial responsibility of the government is to provide for its citizens. Governments can do this by providing jobs, payments, and food. Historically this has been the job of the legislative branch, and it is still a big part of the job today. Some Americans believe that this responsibility is being abused and that it distracts people from taking responsibility for their own well-being.
There are many different national government styles, including dictatorship (one person or small group with power), empire (rule by conquest), feudalism (orderly pyramid of control), democracy (people vote to select their own leaders), communism (everyone shares in the wealth), and capitalism (businesses compete for profits). The United States has a democratic republic, which means we elect our own leaders to speak on our behalf and we have a written constitution that sets out our basic rules. This system of government works best when the majority of citizens support it. People who do not support the system are called dissenters. These dissenters often form political parties with similar beliefs and philosophy of what role the government should play in society.