Sample Essay on The Government as an Institution


The government is an example of a social institution. Social systems consist of a set of norms that are well established all in an accord of supporting each other.  The existence of social institution helps to reduce incidences of chaos in the society since each institution has a role to perform and should not go astray. Assuming the social institutions do not exist, the result could be a lack of structure and how the to run matters. The society can be unbearable without institutions since nine can be following and more badly even rules could not be existing. The institutions carry out various tasks and they coexist in the society. Examples of social institutions include: the government, the family, the economy can also form a social institution. Religion and mass media can form social institutions among many others. Social institutions are simply a group of people who come together to share a common interest. Any group of people is it in a public gathering can be a social institution simply because they share a common characteristic. Most social institutions also have their set norms and rules that govern them within their work places or their operations (Macionis, 2005).

This article will majorly focus on the government as a social institution. How is the government a social institution? What structure does a government have? What are the roles of the government as a social institution?  This is important because it’s good that the society understands how important the government is and what is its structure. It brings more understanding and will improve the relationship between the government and general public. It’s good when citizens of a country do understand the outline of the government. This article will have the definition of the government as a social institution, the structure and types of governments, and the roles of the government as a social institution. I will conclude by summarizing how the government works with other social institutions to have a peaceful and orderly state.

The Government as a Social Institution

The government consists of a system that controls and makes decisions in any particular country. For instance, it’s the government that can authoritatively give directions on what is to be done or what is supposed to be done. The government can also be defined as the office or function of governing a state.  As a social institution, the government has entrusted the function of coming up with and implementing of rules that govern any particular situation. The rules become like the norms and going against will mean a penalty that is equally well spelled out in the constitution if in any case, the country is using one. The governing body has to be known by all people. One cannot declare themselves as such unless they are known and recognized by the people they govern. It’s the people who give them this power and so they have to be recognized. Any ruling body has to be recognized and if its not recognized then it cannot be termed as the ruling body.


Types of Governments

There are various types of governments that exist for various types of communities or countries. This includes four types of governments. Among the four, most governments fall under one type since it’s the one that exists. The types of governments include:

  1. Totalitarianism
  2. Monarchy governments.
  3. Democratic government
  4. Authoritarianism

Totalitarianism Government

Totalitarianism is a political government in which control of almost all citizens’ lives is under the tight control. This type of government restricts individual rights meaning to some extent it can infringe freedom of citizens. Almost all aspects of the lives of the citizens are controlled by the government. It means that whatever the government decides to do becomes final whether it’s right or wrong. Depending on circumstances this might help or is far much worse than various institutions having their norms. A good example is in Cambodia between the year 1976 and the year 1978 when the government took total control over the aspects of the citizens of Cambodia. Those who did not abide by the government regulations always got themselves tortured or murdered. This happened when the government was forcing people to relocate from cities to go and stay in rural areas. It was a move to protect communalism. Most of those who were viewed as city intellects were largely murdered including anyone who tried to question the rule of the government.

Through government measures, the government can regulate all dynamics in the society. It emerged China and India but could not stay for long.  In Europe in the year 1920 and was spread out throughout Europe and was common in those nations that are seeking supremacy regarding the state reducing the powers of civilians. The totalitarian governments establish very rigid rules that are unbearable just to suppress the citizens and make them comply with the state laws. All other institutions in these case cannot be independent and are controlled by the central government of that country. This type of leadership was seen in Germany by one Hitler Adolf. It’s characterized by restrictive and oppressive nature cannot allow it to exist for long. Most governments adopted a new structure that is favorable to the civilians since the latter does not offer protection to the citizens.

Monarchy Government

The second type of government is the monarchy government. It involves a system where one family is given the power to control the government. The king passes the role to the next generation member who is a member of the family mostly an heir to the throne. In this type of government, power is passed from one family member to the other in generations. Constitutional monarchies are the most common types of monarchy governments that exist. In this type of monarchy government, the king or a queen is the head, but rules and regulations are made by the parliament. Another type of monarchy government is the absolute monarchy where the king rules by absolute right. It gives the king absolute power over its people. The third type of monarchy government is the Commonwealth type of monarchy government which is an intergovernmental organization of around 53 states which were formerly under the British rule. It could as well mean a group of countries with political or economic links with each other (Craggs, 2014).

Democratic Type of Government.

Democracy consists of a political government in which people choose their leaders periodically. The chosen leaders become the ones to run the operations of the government. It’s characterized by the provision of the majority rule and it advocates for free and fair elections in the states that practice democracy. Under democracy, the power to change or to have a new leader is vested in the hands of the general public. This is the most common type of many government states are having in the world today. The government makes it people for its citizens to be treated equally in the state and everyone in the state has equal rights. It can be in two forms namely direct and representative democracy. Direct democracy is one in which citizens are allowed to vote legally after having attained the required age. The citizens will vote for the rules and law that they want to be put in place. Representative is where the elected officials are used as representatives of the general public to make and implement rules. They make these choices in place of their people who cannot all at once represent themselves. In some countries, the two elements are practiced. A good example is the USA structure that practices the two elements. In the democracy kind of government, there exist other institutions like the political affiliations which have their rules and other guiding norms. They operate on an independent basis and play a participatory role in the running of operations in society (“Documents on Democracy,” 2006).


Is a type of government where the citizens are not allowed to participate in ruling or decision-making process (Dean, 2002). A good example is in Africa, Zimbabwe which is led by an authoritative leader who has gained a bad reputation worldwide. There is a very narrow difference between this type of government and the totalitarianism since the two share characteristics. However, it’s worse in totalitarianism where the government controls all aspects of life in the people’s lives. It’s not a good type of leadership since it oppresses the general public of their rights and freedom. In the daily activities, the rule of the government is required to ensure stability and orderliness in the society. Most governments characterized by authoritarianism are led by dictators (Howard, 2002).

The Role of the Government as a Social Institution.
  1. To form a perfect body that fits the society.

The government being the major social institution, unites with other institutions or forms other smaller institutions from different sectors to ensure a good and understanding government to the people. It’s through this unity that as a nation citizens can have national pride, it makes individuals feel like true patriots to a country. It simply does what a social institution should do. The government is responsible for the coordination of all institutions and ensuring their smooth functioning to ensure orderliness in the society. Without the government, the society can experience disorderliness which will result in the destruction of property. Nobody will want to own anything valuable because there is no governing rules top manage possession of the item. The government does a good job to ensure efficient administration. The government promotes national pride and patriotism by holding national celebrations and national holidays.

  1. To establish a legal framework that can administer justice.

Every member of the society has equal rights as stipulated in the legal framework of any country. It’s the duty of the government to fight for those who cannot get the equality by themselves. As a social institution, the government does a lot in coming up with a framework of laws through a smaller institution that is judiciary. The judiciary is responsible for administration and protection of the constitution. It’s an independent body established by the government to help administer the legal framework of a country. Justice simply implies that all people of a nation get what is due to them. It ensures no one in the general public is oppressed to settle for less. Through social programs, the government can distribute resources throughout the country and can provide assistance to those who need it from the governing body. Medical benefits can also be extended to those needy families and the government also provides social security to those senior government officers (Kromidha, 2012).

  1. The government ensures domestic calmness.

It’s through its administration that a state is ever to maintain a state of sanity in society. The government makes rules and laws that discourage any acts o0f wrong doing. There is a penalty for anyone who doesn’t follow the law. Through the judicial system, the government of any state can administer and ensure the constitution is well protected and administered. The set laws are there to ensure order in the society that resolves disputes and maintains order. Justice is meant for all, and no institution should deny an individual justice as it will be infringing on the rights of someone.

  1. To protect its citizens.

The governing body once more has the role of protecting its citizens. Protection, in this case, can refer to security. The government ensures that no seller in the market that can sell harmful products to the people. It also ensures that the environment is well protected and preserved. One cannot just carry the law in their hands and haunt other innocent citizens. It’s the role of the government through the set rules that ensures that the defenseless have a voice to speak. It ensures that those who are oppressed and helpless are assisted in one way or the other.

  1. The role of any government is to promote the general welfare of the people.

This is ensured by the construction of roads and provision of social amenities (Sandvig, 2006). Infrastructure offers support to the people’s welfare, and it’s the government that is responsible for providing the same to its people (Yuliarmi, Suman, Kiptiyah, & Yustika, 2012). Most politicians in the governments of present day use this as a major ladder to rise to power. The well-being of a society can be determined by how improved their lives are in the society. Infrastructure and provision of social amenities are part of the services the government should ensure the state has. Roads, electricity, water, playing grounds and many other amenities such as the provision of healthcare services to the citizens. Neglecting this can lead to increased problems in the society that can even lead to increased social crimes and even prevalence of diseases. The government as an institution plays a major role in ensuring all these are available and are well maintained since most of these government offered services are readily available for use by the general public.

  1. To secure the state’s liberty

The government should ensure the protection of the state liberty since it’s not an easy thing in case it lacks or is lost. Liberty means that the state is free to their activities rightfully and that a state has its independence. State liberty is a key thing that nobody in any state would want to put it at stake since it can sparkle a war that can bribe problems to citizens of the countries or bodies involved. It’s the role of the state to protect the liberty of any state at any one given time (Kampfner, 2009).

It’s through the government that that society can have a smooth and running system of orderliness. The key role of any social institution is to ensure that they participate in the running of affairs by either direct participation or by indirect participation. The government is part of the comparative social institutions that help, maintain this orderliness in the society (Onaka, 2015). Preservation and maintenance of social order should be key to any institution, and any attempts to disrupt the norms and way of life of a society is always wrong. A society without rules will be so disrupted to an extent where life will be unbearable to others who cannot survive in the harsh and hostile society.


In a normal society norms and rules exist. This norms are the ones that guide our behavior and how we should relate. A social institution is any group of people who share a common interest. Social institutions, for instance, help us improve our relations as they give directions on what way to lead in life. Some social norms might not be written down on paper but should be held by every society member. Examples of social institutions include. The family, religion, education, and many other cultural and ethnic groups. The government being the major social institution, does a lot to support these other social institutions by coming up with an established system that governs them.

The government is the ruling body that makes and administers rules. There are four types of governments namely: authoritarian government, totalitarian, monarchy and democracy governments. Most governments in the present day are democratic in that it’s the rule of the majority that gives power. This power then regulates the behaviors of individuals in the setting. The roles of the government as a social institution include protection to both its citizens and the state. It also unifies people from different ethnic backgrounds, provides a defense to the common defenseless. Ensuring that tranquility is observed domestically. Providing useful services like the social amenities is also a role of the government. As a social institution, the government does a lot to its citizen and should be respected since it even protects the state’s liberty blessing.

Lastly, it’s the role of the society to protect its individuals and ensure their well-being is taken care of. This is ensured by institutions that exist in the society. Evaluation of various institutions in the by the government is important since it will help on information that is important for comparison. Comparison creates better competition in the delivery of various services by various institutions. The health sector, for instance, can be compared to the finance sector and their performances used to set new goals for the sectors. This makes sectors grow and enhances unity and interdependence among the various sectors of the economy. Overall, the government is a key social institution that should be protected and given the respect that it deserves. It’s an important aspect that cannot be disputed in the society.

Works Cited

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Kampfner, John. “The State Of Liberty”. The Philosophers’ Magazine, no. 46, 2009, pp. 83-89. Philosophy Documentation Center, doi:10.5840/tpm20094647.

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Macionis, John J. Sociology. 1st ed., Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005,.

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