A government is the system we use to control a country and make national decisions. It is also the group of people who govern a country, making it run smoothly and efficiently. The function of government is to regulate man’s interactions with one another and protect citizens from outside interference. Governments also punish those who do wrong. They also promote good behavior among the population and provide social benefits such as education, healthcare, and economic security.
The modern concept of government is much different than in ancient times. In the ancient polis (city-state) of ancient Athens, for example, all men had an equal say in politics and the right to vote for political leaders. Modern governments are often based on democracy, wherein all citizens are free to express their opinions about the direction of the country’s policies. Government leaders are usually limited in terms of the length of their term in office, and their power is regulated by law. The responsibilities of government are defined by its constitution, and the rights of citizens are protected by laws that prohibit discrimination.
Most modern governments are multi-party systems that allow people from competing political parties to vie for leadership positions in various branches of the state. The distribution of powers between institutions varies from country to country, but there are certain general rules that should be followed:
1. The legislature is responsible for creating and changing the country’s laws. People who work in this branch are referred to as lawmakers, Americans call them Senators and Representatives and Britons refer to them as MPs (Members of Parliament).
2. The executive branch of the government is responsible for executing the laws passed by the legislature. The President of the United States is a member of this branch, as are Cabinet ministers and other senior level officers. 3. The judiciary branch of the government enforces laws and ensures that citizens are treated fairly. The judiciary is a crucial part of a society and no society can prosper without honest, impartial judges.
4. The military, police and other armed forces are responsible for protecting citizens from external threats and preserving internal order. This is a key responsibility of any government, and it is vital that the country has an efficient police force, a judicial system that treats all people equally and a well-trained military that can handle all types of emergencies.
5. The financial responsibilities of government include managing its incomes and expenditures. This includes taxes, fees and other sources of revenue and spending on things like public health, education, the military and infrastructure. The budget is negotiated every legislative period and most countries have specific goals for their deficit, investments and savings.
The final role of government is to fulfill citizens’ needs, such as providing education, healthcare and economic security. This is a controversial area, because some people feel that government should not provide these services and instead should encourage individuals to take care of their own needs by creating jobs and promoting private ownership. However, others believe that it is not fair to have a completely free market economy if people are not guaranteed the basic necessities of life.