Governments make rules and laws, enforce those rules, and decide how people should live. They also judge any conflicts between the rules. In the United States, government consists of three levels: national, state, and local. These levels are organized according to the Constitution, which divides power into the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. Government provides stability to society and many crucial services, like free public education, police and fire departments, and mail delivery. It also regulates access to things that belong to all, like national parks.
Government began to evolve as people realized that it was easier to protect themselves if they stayed together as a group, or a nation. Then they could take on bigger challenges and conquer more territory. Governments provide a structure through which people can make their needs and opinions known to public officials, which is important in a democracy such as the United States.
One of the biggest duties of government is to make sure that people can use their property in ways that won’t hurt other people – whether it be their homes or inventions. Governments also sometimes step in to resolve market failures that affect third parties, such as monopolies or negative side effects from certain activities, such as pollution.
Another major role of government is to provide social programs that help people survive through tough times. This is where controversy occurs because some people feel that it isn’t the role of government to provide financial assistance to citizens, but it is often difficult for a family to survive without government assistance when jobs are scarce or businesses are failing.
Most governments raise funds to pay for their policies and services by collecting taxes from individuals and businesses. Governments then draft budgets to determine how the money will be spent. On the state and local level, those funds go to things like state colleges, road maintenance, wildlife management and more. At the federal level, government expenditures include defense spending, social security payments, pensions for veterans and federal courts.
Government also manages the economy through taxes, fees and other measures that control inflation and keep the banking system stable. This keeps the economy from falling into a recession and keeps the interest rates low for consumers.
The founding fathers designed the United States government to be fair and equal for everyone. The three branches of government – the Legislative, Executive and Judicial – check each other’s powers to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful. If a citizen disagrees with a law passed by Congress, they can work to influence the policymaking process by persuading lawmakers to vote against the bill or by encouraging the president to veto the law. This is called the “checks and balances” that make a democracy democratic. The founders also made it possible for the people to choose their leaders by voting in elections. They also created a limited federal Constitution, which restricts the power of Congress to the tasks enumerated in that document.