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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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