Government is the organization through which a state, community or society exercises authority and performs functions. Governments provide goods and services, make laws and enforce those laws. They also provide security and peace for their citizens. Government is necessary for civilization because it protects people from the dangers of nature and each other. It makes sure that people follow the rules of their society, and it punishes those who do not. Governments are made up of people who work together in groups called political parties to choose the leaders they want to run their governments.

The United States is a democracy, which means that most people have the right to vote for the leader they think should govern them. The main job of a government is to protect those things that are important for everyone but which cannot be provided by the market, such as national security and education. The government protects these things by taxing people and by regulating businesses. Governments also redistribute income by giving some of it to poorer people. This is often called social welfare.

In addition to protecting public goods, the government makes the laws that people must obey. It also provides many other goods and services, such as health care, housing, parks and schools. The United States government raises money for these things by collecting taxes and fees and selling securities called bonds. The government also pays for some of its expenses by borrowing from the public.

When the founders of the United States created their government, they set up a system that allows local, state and federal governments to share powers. The Constitution outlines the basic rules for how this works. Years of building on these rules has made the United States government that we have today.

A government needs to be fair and just. That means it must treat everyone equally, even when the decisions it makes affect different people differently. It must also be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. The United States government tries to do this by encouraging debate and by accepting ideas from other countries. It also tries to prevent corruption by making sure that politicians do not use their position for personal gain or to hurt other people.

Governments also must make laws that prevent crime. To do this, they must have the power to investigate and prosecute people who break the law. They must also have the power to punish criminals, and they must have a system for settling disputes. The United States government has a court system that hears cases and imposes penalties, including jail time.

Governments also must have the power to protect people from natural disasters and from terrorist attacks. To do this, they need to be able to respond quickly to emergencies and keep people safe. To protect people from these threats, the government has armed forces and emergency response agencies. It also has a system for collecting and analyzing data on natural and man-made disasters.