Government is the system of order for a nation, state or another political unit. The responsibilities of government include making laws, providing security and defense, managing the economy, and providing public services like roads and schools. Governments also determine the rights and responsibilities of citizens, as well as the amount of power given to officials. The way governments are formed and the extent of their powers vary widely around the world. In the United States, for example, there are three branches of Federal Government — Congress (legislative), the President and the Federal courts (executive), and each branch must check on each other to ensure that no one person or group has too much power.
Most people live in countries with democratic or republic forms of government. These types of nations allow their citizens to elect the officials who govern them and participate in decision-making. People who live in these nations enjoy many rights, including freedom of the press and the ability to vote for their representatives. The United States is a democracy and, as such, its citizens have a say in the direction of the country. The earliest examples of this type of government were city-states, such as Athens, in ancient Greece, where all free men over the age of 20 had the right to vote and participate in politics.
Modern governments can be classified as democracies, totalitarian regimes or a combination of the two. Other historical styles of government include monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, and oligarchy.
The responsibilities of governments vary widely across the world and are affected by cultural, geographical, economic, social and historical factors. Some governments are more stable than others, with some lasting centuries while others disappear and are replaced by different kinds of government.
In general, the best governments are those that provide their citizens with goods and services and promote stability and peace. The most effective ways to achieve this include promoting economic development, protecting the environment and developing social justice. Governments can create these systems through constitutional law, enforceable contracts and treaties, public education, and a vibrant civil society.
The Federal Government offers a wide range of programs that help its citizens, from food assistance to home ownership. It also provides financial support for research and development. People can get help from Federal agencies by applying for grants or contacting their local offices. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development funds counseling agencies nationwide that advise people on topics such as mortgages and foreclosures. In addition, it provides a variety of homeownership programs and can assist with disaster relief and recovery. People can find more information about these programs in the Federal Register, which lists proposed rules, regulations and policies of Federal agencies. This publication is available online. When a rule is published in the Federal Register, it becomes part of the legal record and establishes requirements. Before issuing a regulation, an agency must follow steps to interpret and implement laws passed by Congress.