History and Government:What is the definition of government?



1 a v).The definition of government

The following are some definitions of the term “Government”.

  • The authoritative direction and restrain, exercised over the actions of men in communities, societies and states; the direction of the affairs of a state; political rule and administration. (American Dictionary)
  • A group of individuals sharing a defined responsibility for exercising power (International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences: 1968).
  • The political and administrative hierarchy of organized state (Political Science Dictionary: 1973).
  • The exercise of influence and control through law and coercion over a particular group of people formed into a state. (Dictionary of Political Thought: 1982)
  • The act of ruling, a continuous exercise of authority over the fictionof subjects or inferiors; authoritative direction or regulation; centralrule (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition: 1989).
  • The institutions and processes by which groups and states are regulated(Olumwullah, in William, R. Ochieng: 1990),
  • A ruling or managing, central system governing, the body of people authorized to administer the laws or to govern a state (Concise Dictionary: 1991).
  • The political system by which a ratio of a community is administered or regulated. (The New Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. 5: 1993). The main features emerging from the above definitions on government are;

    -Authority, control and power over people.

    – People who exercise authority and power.

    – People who are ruled or governed.

    – Ruling institutions and processes.

    As a subject, the term government can be understood as the study of the political and administrative structure (Legislative, executive and judiciary) of a given state or states.


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