A government is the system by which a state or community is governed. In the case of its broad definition, government normally consists of legislative, executive and judicial. Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state. A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political systems and institutions that make up the organization of a specific government.
States are served by a continuous succession of different governments. Each successive government is composed of a body of individuals who control and exercise control over political decision-making. Their function is to make and enforce laws and arbitrate conflicts. In some societies, this group is often a self-perpetuating or hereditary class. In other societies, such as democracies, the political roles remain, but there is frequent turnover of the people actually filling the positions.
Government of any kind currently affects every human activity in many important ways. For this reason, political scientists generally argue that government should not be studied by itself; but should be studied along with anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, science, and sociology.
Every modern government deals with the leadership task by creating a mix of political and administrative officials at top. The fundamental puzzle is how to set that mix: political officials provide a larger measure of responsiveness, while career administrators bring a larger measure of professional competition. American government and politics are extraordinarily complex. The framers of the United States Constitution divided governmental power and responsibility both among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and, again, federally between the national government and the states. Although this complexity was designed to disperse power in American politics, it has also placed significant burdens on citizens seeking to participate in politics and to influence government policy. Government is the term generally used to describe the formal institutions through which a land and its people are ruled; the term refers as well to institutions as simple as a tribal council and more complex establishments known as “states.” Governments vary both in terms of the number of people included in government decision making and the extent of the government’s authority. Autocracies are governments ruled by a single individual. Oligarchies are ruled by a small group of people. Democracies permit citizens to play a significant part in the governmental process. Constitutional governments recognize and often codify broad limits on their authority. Authoritarian governments are checked (often reluctantly) by other political, economic, and social institutions. Totalitarian governments recognize no formal limits on their authority. Politics refers to the conflicts and struggles that exist within organizations over the organizations’ leadership, structures, and policies. Political participation can take many forms including running for office, voting or joining a political party, contributing money to a political candidate or cause, lobbying, joining a group, writing a letter or otherwise communicating to others about politics, and many other activities. Although politics involves many different activities, there are underlying patterns or “principles” that help us to categorize and understand politics better.
The American separation of powers, in contrast to European systems, leaves the president less in command of administrative agencies than are European executives, who have more administrative freedom. In parliamentary systems, leaders can count on legislative support because their party or coalition has the most votes. The U.S. president, in contrast, faces a Congress that engages in active oversight and intervention in administrative agencies affairs and...