What Does Government Do?


Government is a system of people who make rules, makes sure those rules are followed and judges any conflicts. Government also provides security and helps make things like schools, fire departments and mail service available. It also protects people’s freedom of speech and religion. Governments often have special people called diplomats who communicate with leaders of other countries.

Governments are organized into different branches with specific powers, duties and responsibilities. The distribution of these powers among the branches differs between governments. The number of branches also varies between governments. In the United States, for example, the founders set up three separate branches of government: The Legislative Branch (Congress), The Executive Branch (the President and his Cabinet) and The Judicial Branch (courts and the Supreme Court).

Representatives elected by citizens sit on local councils, state legislatures or Congress. They make laws that govern their cities, counties or states. They also draft budgets to determine how much money to spend for services. They might also make decisions about raising taxes on items such as income, property and sales. The money that is raised from these taxes is then given to government agencies at the city, county and state level to provide the services outlined in the budget.

At the national level, Congress allocates money to federal programs such as defense, education, social security and veterans’ benefits. State governments often allocate money for things like state colleges and universities, road maintenance and wildlife management. In addition, they might set priorities for the spending of federal dollars.

All governments have people who make up the police force, which is there to ensure that people follow the laws. They also have people who investigate when something goes wrong. Some governments even have military forces that might be used to protect the country if it is under attack from other countries or terrorists.

One of the most important jobs of government is to regulate access to common goods like natural resources. These are items that everyone can use, but they have a limited supply. For example, if too many people take fish from the sea or clean drinking water, there might not be enough for others to enjoy these items. Governments help keep the supply of these items in balance by making laws that prevent too many people from using them up.

Governments can also give their citizens the right to vote and the freedom of speech. They can also help to promote peace between nations through diplomacy. All of these are the reasons why most countries in the world have some kind of government. The United States is unique in that its Constitution is designed to guarantee that these rights are protected. The Constitution breaks down the United States government into the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches, so no one branch can become too powerful and overtake the other two. This is called the principle of checks and balances. It was the design that helped the founding fathers create a government they felt would be fair and equal to all Americans.