What Is Government? Definition And Concepts Of Government

Government can be defined as the machinery by which the functions of a state are performed. It is how a state maintains its existence. We can also define government as an administrative institution within a state, which only lasts over some time.

There are 3 main organs of government, which are the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. They make up the government.

Concepts Of Government

Below is a list of 14 concepts of government:

1. Nation:

A nation refers to a group of people bound by a common culture. The people may be bound by history, market, language, and way of dressing. And there is always a feeling of unity.

2. State:

It is a territorial association of people with defined boundaries. Government makes it possible for a state to carry out its activities. And a state is permanent. Additionally, the basic characteristics of a state are territory, sovereignty, and population.

3. Power:

This is one of the concepts of governments that involves the ability or official capacity to exercise control.

4. Authority:

This has to do with the power and right to command, enforce laws, determine and to judge.

5. Democracy:


Democracy is simply the government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a system where people exercise power of governing through representatives elected by the people themselves. And some of the conditions that drive democracy are the acceptance, democratic ideals, human rights, electorate and the independence of the judiciary.

6. Capitalism:

This is a political and economic system in which the means of production, exchange and distribution are owned and controlled by private individual and in which the economic activity of the government is at a minimum. One of the features of capitalism is the freedom of choice. That is, the consumer is presented with a choice. And the same choice is available to workers and owners of capital.

This system encourages free entry into the market and where there is no monopoly, competition is encouraged and competitors will try to maximize every economic advantage. Rivalries leave consumers with the best price for product.

7. Fascism:

Fascism was the government system practiced by Benito Mussolini in Italy between 1922 and 1943. It is an authoritarian form of government that emphasizes the supremacy of the state over the individual. However, the state gets itself involved in the activities of the individual and the President is seen as a symbol of the state.

The state must get involved in what is considered public good. And a great part of the economy is nationalized. There is always an emphasis on superiority, mysticism and corporatism. The labor is supreme and superior.

Meanwhile, extreme nationalism is preached, and it is anti-communist which concerns itself with the attitude of men and their behavior. It’s totalitarian nature makes it control all the aspects of the society and people are made to belief that all actions must be aimed at making the state strong, the leader supreme and the people patriotic.

8. Socialism:

This is another concepts of government that emphasizes collective ownership of the means of production and distribution. This system gives an equal opportunity, for everybody to participate in both the economy and the political process.

The strong advocates of this system are Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels. And the major concern of this system was the enthronement of a class less society. There were inequalities, and extreme poverty, leading to conflicts and agitations.

This system calls for the state to participate and control the means of production and possibly hold it in trust for the people. The emphasis is on collective ownership of the means of production.

9. Communism:

Communism is an extreme form of socialism. It is a system that advocates a classless and stateless society. The communism system does not allow exploitation. Each man is allowed to produce according to his ability and take according to his needs.

10. Anarchism:

Anarchism is a state in which there is no government. There is no function for the state as class antagonism is already resolved. A total break down of law and order could lead to a situation in which several people lay claim to leadership with none actually in control.

Country like Somalia has witnessed this type of situation. The country is factionalized with each war lord laying claim to the area under his country. The absent of government in a state leads to a state of anarchy. And the machinery of the state cannot be used to ensure law and order.

11. Elitism:

The society is classifies into two groups, The first is the ruling class who are the elites and the second, is the governed. The elite constitute a minority in the group but they are privileged. They are learned capitalists, and they have the ability to organize. Their ability to organize themselves into a group makes it possible for them to unite against the poor who constitute the majority.

Government institutions are so structured that these elites find it easy to control the machinery of government.

12. Monarch:

This is a system in which a king or a queen rules. And succession is usually hereditary. Once a king or queen is crowned, he/she remains in office until death, and he/she exercise authorities over his/her subjects. Modern development in government has made to a lot of modifications and whittling down of the powers of the king/queen.

13. Aristocracy:

Aristocracy is a government by a few wealthy individual who see themselves as having blue blood. They see themselves as the best.

14. Sovereignty:

In Jean Austin definition, sovereignty is a definite superior to which habitual obedience is rendered by the mass of men and who does not himself obey any higher authority.

Sovereignty refers to some form of freedom, and controls. It places liberty at the doorsteps of the sovereign and leaves it with the opportunity to run it’s affairs. It is also limited by international laws, which are not subject to controls by man, conventions of social systems, and by the rule of law.

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