Government is a group of adults who decide the rules that we live by, and then makes sure they are followed, and judges any disputes between different rules. In the United States, there are three big branches of the government: the legislature (the people who make the laws), the executive (the people who carry out the laws) and the judiciary (the people who judge whether a law is good or bad). Each branch of the government has its own set of rules.
The reason for government is to protect us from each other, and to keep order. Some people have argued that the only way to do this is to create a central authority, whose power is unlimited and whose will is absolute. They would then give up some of their freedoms, so that the government could protect them from each other and from other countries. This is what the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes called a social contract.
Another function of government is to provide a structure by which goods and services can be made available to the citizens. This is done by establishing taxation and tariffs to raise money to pay for things such as schools, police and fire departments, roads and other infrastructure. This money is then used to provide those services.
The government also regulates public access to natural resources, such as water, land and wildlife. These are known as public goods, and they are in limited supply. For example, if too many people take too much water from a river, then the water will not be available for others. Similarly, if too many people take too much of the land that is home to wildlife, then the wildlife will be out of balance with nature. The role of government is to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of the available public goods, and that these are distributed in accordance with environmental, social, and economic principles.
At the international level, governments work to promote peace and security by signing treaties with other countries, and negotiating trade agreements. They may also have diplomats who travel between countries and try to solve problems or disagreements between them. The leader of a country’s government is called its head of state or president, and this person represents the nation when speaking with leaders of other countries.
Governments also have a military that is designed to protect the country from other countries trying to attack or invade it. The military is known as the armed forces, and it includes air force, navy and marine corps, army and national guard. It is also important for a country’s government to have diplomatic relations with other countries, as this can help it avoid wars and negotiate trade agreements that benefit both sides. The government may also have an official name that is printed on money and on documents signed by the country’s officials. For example, the United States uses the term “United States of America” in its official documents, and it is this name that appears on its currency and in treaties and legal cases in which it is a party.