Government is a system of people governing an organized community or, more commonly, a State. The word comes from the Latin locution gubernare, which means to steer a ship or vessel. The governing body is the executive branch of government and can be called an administration, a council, or a cabinet. Governments may exist at the central, local or regional levels. Governments usually have a constitution or other statement of political philosophy and a mechanism for determining policy. They also enforce laws and manage the economy. Governments vary widely throughout the world, but all have a similar basic structure.
The United States Government is a federal government with a bicameral legislature, the President and the Supreme Court. The US Constitution establishes the President and the courts as independent branches of the government and gives Congress considerable legislative powers. Congress may pass laws and appoint heads of government departments, but the President is permitted to veto specific laws and Congress can override Presidential vetos with two-thirds majorities in each House.
As the founders designed the US Government, they created a system of checks and balances to prevent too much power from being concentrated in one hand. This separation of powers and checks and balances allows people to have many chances to influence laws as they move through the policymaking process from initial idea to final implementation. It’s important to remember, however, that not all laws are good laws and it’s impossible for any law to meet all people’s needs at once.
In a democracy, the public has a right to express their opinions on the laws they live by, and to vote for candidates to represent them in government. This is why it’s important for adults to participate in the political process by voting and working to help their favorite candidate win the election. It’s also important to learn about the rules that govern how the government operates, such as the separation of powers, checks and balances, and the rule of law.
The United States government is based on the principle of “mutual toleration”–that is, citizens are expected to respect their political opponents even when they vehemently disagree with them. This mutual toleration is an essential ingredient in the functioning of a democratic republic. The United States Government also has the highest level of civil rights protection among all developed nations, including a right to petition the government for redress.
Despite their differences in political ideology, most Americans agree that the US Government should make sure the rules are fair and that all people are treated fairly and equally. Americans are divided on the size of government, however. Six-in-ten whites and nearly four-in-ten blacks say they prefer a larger government that provides more services, while a majority of women and adults ages 65 and older say they prefer a smaller government providing fewer services.