Government 101 – What Does a Government Do?


A government is a system or group of people governing an organized community, usually a nation. Governments make rules that people live by and then enforce those rules to ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally. Governments have many jobs, including protecting citizens from war, crime, and poverty. In addition, governments provide services that benefit all citizens such as education, public transportation and mail service.

There are different types of national government styles: dictatorship (rule by one person or small group), empire (rule by conquering), feudalism (orderly pyramid of control), communism (each according to their ability), democracy, and republic (rule by the people). These governments are often divided into branches, with the President, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court as examples of the Executive Branch. The legislative branch, composed of Congress and its House of Representatives and Senate, makes laws. The executive branch puts those laws into action, while the judicial branch makes sure that the actions of the other branches are fair and equal.

Governments also protect common goods like fish in the sea and clean drinking water, which are used freely by all, but are in limited supply. They are not goods that can be remade when they run out, as with building new schools or hiring more firefighters, so they must be protected. Governments at the federal, state and local levels are responsible for protecting these resources, and providing other important public services such as food, housing, and health care for those who need it.

Among the most important duties of government is ensuring that people do not take everything that is available without paying for it, such as hunting in a park or using free Internet at home. Governments also help to prevent this from happening by requiring that people pay for the use of private property, such as roads or utilities. Governments can also provide security and stability by forming military forces, as well as delivering other benefits that keep people safe and healthy, such as police and fire departments.

In the United States, we have a Constitution that the founding fathers designed to ensure our government would work well. They created the three branches of our government: the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. The Constitution gives the Executive Branch, which is made up of the President and his Cabinet, responsibility for making the rules that govern our country and ensuring those rules are followed. The Supreme Court makes sure that the way our laws are made and enforced agree with the Constitution.

The Judicial Branch is the third branch of our government and makes sure that everyone is treated fairly. The Constitution says that the President, who is elected by the people of America, is our head of state and has the power to make treaties with other countries. It also gives the Senate a role in giving advice and consent on some executive and judicial appointments, as well as the power to approve or reject legislation that has passed through Congress. The Constitution lets the President veto specific legislative acts, but Congress can override those vetoes with two-thirds majorities of both houses.