Government and the State –Chapter 1 –Section 1
Why does Government Matter?
Government is essential to the existence of human beings in a civilized society. What any particular government is like and what that government does have an extraordinary impact on the lives of all people who live within reach.
What is Government?
Government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public polices. Governments is made up of those people who exercise its powers, all those who have authority and control over people.
The public policies of a government are, in short, all of those things a government decides to do. Public policies cover matters ranging from taxation, defense, education, crime, and health care to transportation, the environment, civil right, and working conditions. The list of public policies is nearly endless.
Governments must have power in order to make and carry out public policies. Power is the ability to command or prevent action, the ability to achieve a desired end.
Every government has and exercises three basic kinds of power:
Legislative power: the power to make law and to frame public policies
Executive power: the power to execute, enforce, and administer law
Judicial power: the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within the society.
These powers of government are often outlined in country’s constitution. A constitution is the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government.
The ultimate responsibility for the exercise of these powers may be held be a single person or by a small group, as in a dictatorship. In this form of government, those who rule cannot be held responsible to the will of the people. When the responsibility for the exercises for the exercise of these powers rests with a majority of the people, that form of government is known as a democracy. In a democracy, supreme authority rests with...