What Is Government?

Government is an institution through which leaders exercise power to make and enforce laws. A government is comprised of a central administration, legislative body, and executive branch. Governments serve several purposes, including providing leadership, maintaining order, providing public services, and ensuring national security.

Governments come in many forms, and there are a wide variety of theories about how they came into existence. Two popular theories include evolution and force. The former says that governments evolved as a result of the need for a social hierarchy to maintain order and provide for the needs of all. The latter, on the other hand, suggests that they emerged as a result of military conquest.

In addition to its basic functions, a government is often seen as a way to protect the rights of citizens and provide economic assistance. There are different kinds of governments, including republics, monarchies, and dictatorships. There are also varying degrees of democracy and control of the economy.

Some people have a strong preference for certain types of governments. For example, those with an ideological leaning toward libertarianism tend to favor free markets and a small government. Those with a more liberal ideology, however, tend to prefer a large government that provides a variety of services.

The framers of the Constitution structured the federal government to be composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. This allows each branch to cooperate and compete with the others in order to enact policy. It also gives each branch the power to check or balance the actions of the other branches. This system of checks and balances helps to prevent one branch from acquiring too much power or dominating the other two.

Congress, for instance, can override a presidential veto by a majority vote of both houses. The Supreme Court can also overturn laws that it deems unconstitutional. This is a fundamental part of the separation of powers established in the Constitution.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (59%) say that the federal government should do more to solve problems. This is up four points from April 2015 and is particularly high among those with a political leaning toward libertarians (71%). At the same time, about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners say that the government does too many things that would be better left to businesses and individuals. This is down 12 points since September 2017.