Webster's dictionary defines government as authoritative direction or control. However, many believe there is a more philosophical approach to the purpose of government. Thomas Jefferson wrote that 'The essential principles of our Government... form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation". In this he refers to the creation of our democratic nation as a guide through the perils of our past. Government is often thought of as simply the ruling of our nation, but it is much more than that. It has provided us with a nation proud of its commitment to justice and freedom.
Although leaders may have the authority to impose penalty and law through their political power, in a democracy the people are allowed to be actively involved in the government. John Locke defined political power as. ".. a right of making laws, with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good". Political power is most often only deemed to be in the interest of the citizens, such as in countries like China, where government officials claim to know what the people want; however, may not make decisions according to their will. The more preferable form of democracy is a representative one, in which the politicians compete for votes in organized elections. Yet, in any commonwealth the want is a central power that works for the people. When government is applied in a positive sense, justice is served and democracy is in its purest form.
It is the goal of government to lead our country in a fashion that does not provide a monopoly of power or authority to any single group or individual. John Locke believed in "A state... of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another". It is by this philosophy that a nation will not fall victim to one-sided statutes. Government forms policies to guarantee the possession of property and regulate the actions of society. These laws are drafted based on the people's idea of what is right and what is wrong and are imposed by the authority granted to government officials. Besides regulating their citizens, government protects them from outside threats as well as provides them with public services that would not otherwise be possible.