What Is the Purpose of the Government?

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The government was established for six reasons, which are unity, domestic tranquility, justice, defense, promotion of the general welfare of the people and securing liberty for all.

The Constitution of the United States outlines the six purposes for the formation of the government. The Constitution, which was written in 1787, is considered the “supreme law of the land” because it cannot be surpassed. When creating the Preamble of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers based the government on three main principles, which were inherent rights, self government and separation of powers. Inherent rights are rights granted to anyone living in the United States. Self government refers to government by the people, and separation of powers divides power among three branches of the United States government. The intent of establishing governmental regulations was to prevent the society from collapsing and descending into lawlessness and chaos.

History of Government Regulation

Historically, the imposition of government laws and regulations to establish order dates back to ancient times. Governments first emerged around the world as people realized that there was a greater benefit to society if they stayed together. Those groups established a prominent member, or a leader, of those groups. This concept is called “sovereignty,” and it means that a group or country is free from outside interference. To carry out their sovereign duty, governments must protect their citizens and defend themselves against attack. In the past, this has been accomplished through the formation of military branches and strategic alliances. Some structures, like the Great Wall of China, have also been built to defend citizens against attack.

While the United States historically served its citizens through these six main roles, it has expanded its regulation into other aspects of citizens’ lives. More recently, the government has become involved in economic affairs and public service. Economic intervention first appeared in following the Economic Depression of the 1920s, when the government saw the need to intervene to save the nation’s economy. The government created the Federal Reserve system in the 1900s to combat inflation. Following the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created several programs to stimulate growth in the economy.

Modern Applications

Although the government honors its responsibilities established by the Constitution, there is a considerable amount of debate over the government’s role in other aspects of citizens’ lives, such as healthcare and social programs. In contrast to many European nations, the United States’ government does not offer a social system of healthcare that covers all citizens. Many Americans criticize socialized healthcare, and believe that government should not play a role in the healthcare system. Americans also generally disfavor other social benefits, such as public housing. Opponents to government regulation in these areas say that the government’s intervention prevents individuals in society from taking responsibility for their own actions. Other traditional governmental purposes, such as military defense, are also controversial subjects. Some citizens and politicians believe that the government should allocate fewer resources to military defense, while others advocate for a stronger military presence. Disagreements over the extent to which the government should regulate its citizens typically falls along political lines. Conservative citizens feel that the central government should have less control over its people, while liberal citizens advocate for government intervention in the area of social welfare.