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Evidence of Good Government

Government is defined as the exercise of political authority over the actions and affairs of a group of people as well as the performance of certain functions for those people.

Ok . . . that’s what government does. But what is its purpose? Here are thoughts on the purpose of government from five individuals, each with a slightly different perspective. 

 

Thomas Jefferson looked to government to enable the wellbeing of the people. “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”  

Alexander Hamilton viewed constraint by government as essential to greater good. “Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.”  

Abraham Lincoln focused upon the collective strength of government to provide what individual efforts could not. “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.” 

Frederick Douglass was pointed in his insistence that the purpose of government is to ensure the protection of the humblest of citizens. "A government that cannot or does not protect the humblest citizen in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown without delay."

The Apostle Paul in his instruction to his protege Timothy referenced government as the guardian of a peaceful environment that would allow the free exercise of belief. "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."

There are many other quotes to be found, but they commonly express the core idea that the purpose of government is to ensure the wellbeing of people living under its authority.

Good government is then the effective exercise of political authority to produce certain outcomes or fair pathways to outcomes that support the wellbeing of every citizen. It is good government for which we pray, asking our Sovereign Creator to apply his ordained tool of government for our wellbeing and protection according to His promise and for His purpose. 

What evidence should we watch for?
 

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