Government is a system of organization that enforces the rules of a society and handles matters such as defense, foreign affairs, and the economy. It is also in charge of making laws and providing services like public education and police departments. But the specific duties of a government depend on the form it takes. Governments can be classified in different ways based on who has the power to make decisions: one person (monarchy or autocracy), a small group of people who have privilege (aristocracy), or the people as a whole (democracy or republic).
Another role of governments is to protect common goods, such as water and fish, that everyone may use free of charge but are in limited supply. This is important because if some people take too much from the supply, there won’t be enough for others to enjoy. Governments can also regulate the free market by limiting certain practices, such as excessive advertising or unsafe products.
Lastly, governments make laws to protect citizens’ rights and promote economic freedom. For example, governments can make it illegal to discriminate against a race or gender in hiring or promoting employees, and they ensure that businesses operate fairly by passing laws to limit the amount of toxic gases they may release into the air and the amount of money they must pay for licenses to operate. Governments can also ensure that citizens are treated equally and have the right to vote for their choice of political parties.
In the United States, the government is composed of three branches: the President and his Cabinet, the Federal and State legislatures, and the judicial branch. The President and his Cabinet manage the day-to-day operations of the Federal government. The judicial branch judges the legality of laws passed by other branches and provides a check on the powers of the executive and legislative branches.
The State legislatures, which are made up of elected representatives, make State laws and fulfill other governing duties. All 50 States except Nebraska have a bicameral legislature, meaning that it is divided into two chambers. The smaller upper chamber is called the Senate, while the larger lower chamber is often referred to as the House of Representatives.
Local, or city, governments provide services like libraries and fire stations and issue building permits. They can also tax residents to raise funds for their services. They can also help promote the economy by investing in infrastructure and research, or by giving subsidies to companies that want to do business in their area. However, it is important that City and State governments limit their spending to what they can afford, or the economy may suffer. They also need to balance their spending with the rest of the world, or they risk losing out on international trade opportunities. This is why the United States is a member of many global organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This way, the United States can compete with other countries for investment opportunities and foreign aid.