Political Culture in America: What is Government and What is It's Purpose

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The purpose of our government is interpreted many ways amongst the American people. Whether it be influenced by upbringing class or creed, they all share a common theme of either high praise or relentless hatred. However, no matter the interpretation, the government serves the same purpose to every citizen of the United States. The government is a neutral, unbiased entity that provides countless benefits and services for its people, while holding citizens accountable for any wrongdoing they engage in. George Washington referred to the government as ‘a force, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master’. He is stating that although the government is inherently neutral, it still must uphold its laws.

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Governments were made to form lawfulness by creating guidelines for the people who serve under it, not to pose as a parental figure to a nation; However, it is needed to keep the general public bound to a set of standards. To maintain control, the government uses systems by the judicial means with a court system, and police forces to directly achieve this goal. Therefore, anyone who poses a threat to society gets dealt with lawfully. This fixed set of rules and regulations are needed for both a growing nation, as well as developed nations, especially around the time George Washington was president.

The government has a set of laws that the population must abide by which naturally creates order, as people do not want to deal with potential disciplinary action such as prison time or financial repercussions. Crimes are committed worldwide by just about anyone; So, whether citizens agree with the consequences of their actions or not, their actions still have harsh outcomes depending on the severity. For example, in the US, many laws have been vetoed due to being declared unconstitutional, these fall along the lines of powers not explicitly granted by the Constitution. Despite the neutral nature of a nation’s government, just about anyone can be affected either negatively or positively based of their actions, an accurate depiction of a scale of justice.

In the quote, Washington refers to government as a force, and how powerful and daunting of a force it can be, despite the myriad of favorable instances for the less fortunate. Numerous citizens live in poverty, or in extreme debt; Thus, spawns the need for charities along with government services that provide the necessities any person should have, but others may have trouble attaining on their own without seeking help. Among these amenities, are food stamps, project housing, healthcare, and welfare accompanying a great number of other services that citizens of the US require for healthy, quality living.

There are many ways to interpret the purpose of the authoritative unit known as government. The duality of its policies being neutral both potentially good and negative based off the actions of those under its rule, provide a sense of reason to act in line with the societal standards and lawful standards of a governed people. Whether anyone feels that these factors are negative or positive, it maintains peace, and fills the role needed in any nation to create order. Therefore, I agree with the quote “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master”. 

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