Problems in American Democracy
11. THE NATURE OF GOVERNMENT.--A government may be defined as an agency through which the purposes of a state or nation are formulated and carried out. This agency develops where men live in groups. One of the chief objects of government is to adjust individual interests, or, to say the same thing in slightly different words, to control members of the group in their social relations.
Where groups are small and culture is at a low level, government may consist in little more than the arbitrary rules of a self-appointed chieftain. From this stage there are numerous gradations up to the great complex governments of the leading nations of to-day. With the origin and general development of government we are not here concerned, and we may accordingly confine our attention to those types of modern government which throw light upon the development of American democracy.