Tag: Functions

Functions of Government

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Preserve Order

Recall Thomas Hobbes’ grim view of humans when ungoverned by a central authority. Maintaining social peace is perhaps the fundamental purpose of government. The US Constitution’s preamble refers to this function specifically when it declares its intent to “ensure domestic tranquility,” an elegant phrase to describe the government’s role as society’s policeman.

Defend Against External Enemies

Nuclear missilesWhile anthropologists continue to debate whether or not humans are an inherently warlike species, war has been a constant in the human condition since the dawn of recorded civilization. In fact, a growing body of scholarship suggests that the state evolved into its present, modern form because of its superior capacity for waging war vis-à-vis competing forms of political organization. While the development of nuclear weapons in the mid-20th century makes outright conflict between powerful states less likely but more dangerous, one of government’s chief functions is still the

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Functions of Government | Scholastic.com

Maintenance of Authority. One of the principal functions of government is to remain in power. Governments do not relinquish their authority unless compelled to do so. Many of the actions of politicians and civil servants can be explained by the need to maintain and enhance their power.

Every government strives to increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the people. It may identify itself with ancient traditions, with hope for the future, or with fear of a common enemy. Some governments employ repression, never relaxing their vigils against real or imagined opponents. Even democracies, when threatened, are likely to engage in a search for subversives and “enemies of the people.”

When a regime draws its main support from a privileged class or group that decreases in numbers and strength, when a government becomes ineffective in handling domestic affairs or countering external threats, or when a society’s consensus on the principles

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