Actions That Help Us Understand Our Government

In the United States, our governments are entities created by us to protect us and our property and to provide services we believe should be provided by a central group.

The are many levels of government in the Unites States - Federal, state, and local. Local includes country, city, home owner associations and more.

As President Lincoln noted in his Gettsyberg Address, each of our governments is "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Our goverments are made up of U.S. citizens and, for the most part, they are elected or appointed by elected officials.

The role and responsibilities of each level of governemt is laid out in their founding documents. In the case of our Federal government, the founding documents start with the U.S. Constitution and its amendments and continue with the laws passed by Congress. States have constitutions, counties have charters, cities have articles of incorporation and so on.

As citizens, it is critical that we understand what our governments are doing and how they are working so we can make sure they don't take on more power and responsibilities than we gave them and that they carryng out the powers we did give them effectively.

Capital Cities USA lists and provides interesting information about each of our 50 state capitals.


Reader Submitted Actions
Read the Constitution

Read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and
the Declaration of Independence.

Citizen Actions


Attend a city council meeting.


Attend a criminal trial.


Go on a police "Ride-Along".


Read the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.


Visit Washington DC, your State capitol, or county seat and attend a legislative session.


Volunteer in an election campaign.