Government is the institution through which leaders exercise power to make and enforce laws. Its basic functions are providing leadership, maintaining order, providing public services, and ensuring national security.

Government enables people to get things they need or want by agreeing to give up some of their freedoms. The Founders of the United States of America called this bargain “government of, by and for the people.”

Different governments are organized differently. Each is a reflection of its own history, culture, economic organization, intellectual and philosophical influences, geography or climate, and historical circumstance. The term government can describe the whole country or just the governing body of an area, city, state, region, or nation. It can also refer to the system of rules and practices by which a country is run and the way that authority and rules are shared between different levels of government.

The government of a nation is typically divided into three branches: the executive branch (President and Cabinet), legislative branch (Congress and the Senate), and judicial branch (Supreme Court and lower courts). Each branch has its own set of responsibilities and authority. For example, the president can veto legislation passed by Congress. The Congress can then re-pass the legislation, but only if two-thirds of both chambers approve it. Moreover, the Supreme Court can review legislation and overturn laws that are unconstitutional.

This system of checks and balances ensures that the branches do not become too powerful and keeps the governmental process transparent. It also allows citizens to participate in policymaking at every level, from the smallest to the largest decisions and actions.

Another important function of government is protecting goods that all people may use freely but that are in limited supply, such as fish in the sea or clean drinking water. Governments must regulate access to these resources so that a few people do not take everything available and leave others with nothing.

In addition, government regulates access to private goods that all people may use but for which they must pay a toll, such as utilities or property taxes. In order to encourage investment and provide the stability needed for growth, it is common for governments to support private ownership of property. Governments can also be categorized by their level of power and influence over the people, such as a monarchy or republic. A democracy is a form of government in which the people choose their representatives through elections.