The Nature of Government

Government is the organization of people that rules over an organized community, typically a nation. Governments make laws, collect taxes and issue money, and provide security and services such as the military, police and public education. They also protect common goods (goods that everyone may use freely, such as fish in the sea and clean drinking water) from being overused by a few people so they are not gone for everybody else. Governments also help defend against invasion, and they can provide economic guidance by creating tax rates, setting economic policies and regulating imports and exports.

People need protection from each other and from outside forces, and this is one of the major reasons that governments evolved. Governments have a monopoly on the legal use of force and can tax people, compel them to follow the laws they make and punish those who violate them. Governments also have the capacity to create armies, plan for war and prepare defenses. They can also share intelligence information with other nations and countries, which gives them advantages in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, crime and other threats.

How governments organize their people and what they do with the power they have depends on how they believe a society should be structured. Some governments are democratic; others are republics, monarchies and autocracies. Democracy is a system in which citizens, as a whole, participate in the governing process by electing representatives or delegates to represent them. Other types of government include hereditary monarchies, aristocracies and oligarchies, in which control is exercised by a small ruling class, such as the nobility or wealthy caste.

The nature of government has been a source of debate throughout history, and it is hard to say for sure what form it should take. One theory is that it evolved to protect property and to promote law and order. Another is that it began when people realized they needed to work together if they wanted to survive and prosper. This realization led to the development of societies, towns, cities and eventually countries.

It is important for people to understand the purposes of different types of government and how they affect their lives. People also should learn about the various ways that they can influence their government. If they have an idea about what government should do, they can try to convince those in power to adopt it. This will help to keep the government in check and prevent it from becoming too big or powerful. It will also help to determine what kind of services and goods the government will offer. For example, if the government is concerned about security, it will probably authorize telephone tapping and restrict what newspapers can publish. If the government is concerned about liberty, it will place fewer restrictions on these activities. Each state agency should post on its website the name and contact information for persons from whom requests can be made to inspect records.