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  • A political system through which a body of people is administered and regulated. The fundamental purpose of government is to maintain basic security and public order. Governments serve several functions. Most exercise executive, judicial, and legislative powers, as well as provide internal and external security. Many also provide welfare services, regulate the economy, and establish educational systems. Some governments control the religious affairs of their people.

    The form of government instituted in a state differs according to the power holders of that state. Power may be held by one individual as in a monarchy, dictatorship, or autocracy. Plutocracy and theocracy are examples of rule by a few individuals. Democracies exemplify rule by the majority.

    Although governments may operate only on a national level, others consist of ...

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