What is Power in Government? – Demystifying Governmental Powers and Their Sources

What is Power in Government? – In terms of politics, power is the capacity to make and uphold laws, regulations, and other policies that have an impact on society. Any political system must have power, which can be used by a variety of institutions, persons, and branches of government.

So, In this article, we will examine the many governmental powers and their sources. 

Let’s go!

Types of Governmental Powers

There are several types of governmental powers. Each of these types of power can be held by various institutions, organizations, and people within a government, and they occasionally overlap or become entangled. A society’s political structure and the power dynamics between these various entities can be significantly impacted.

1. Legislative power

This refers to the power to make laws. This power in a democracy is held by the legislative body of government, such as a parliament or congress.

2. Executive power

This relates to the power to carry out daily governmental operations and execute laws. The executive arm of government, which includes a president or prime minister, is in charge of this authority.

3. Judicial power

This refers to the power to adjudicate legal disputes and interpret laws. The judicial branch of the government, which includes courts and judges, is in charge of this authority.

4. Administrative power

This refers to the power possessed by public servants and organizations in charge of carrying out laws and policies. They are appointed by the executive instead of elected.


5. Military power

This refers to the power a nation’s armed forces and security forces possess. They are in charge of safeguarding the country’s security and may have a big say in how the government operates.

6. Political power

This is a reference to the capacity of people, organizations, or political parties to create public policy and sway political outcomes and election outcomes.

7. Economic power

This refers to a person, group, or organization’s capacity to manage resources and riches and to shape governmental regulations through their financial power.

Sources of Governmental Power

There are several sources of governmental power, including: 

1. Constitution

The supreme law of a nation is found in its constitution, which also gives the government its power and legitimacy. It lays forth the structure of the government, including how the power is divided up amongst the various branches and tiers of government.

2. Popular sovereignty

This is the idea that the consent of the governed ultimately gives the government its authority. In a democracy, the fact that the government is chosen by the populace gives it legitimacy.

3. Legal Authority

This is a reference to the authority of the government as a result of its laws and rules. Laws and regulations that have been lawfully created may be enforced by representatives of the government and their agencies.

4. Customs and tradition

This refers to the authority of the government that is derived from venerable norms and practices. This can apply to the power of the military in a nation with a history of military control as well as the power of the monarchy under constitutional monarchies.


5. Coercion and force

This is a reference to the authority of the government as it relates to its use of force and coercion in order to uphold order and control. To protect security and uphold the law, this may entail using police and military personnel.

6. Control of resources

The power of government is derived from its ability to exercise control over resources like land, money, and natural resources. The government might gain a lot of economic and political influence as a result.

7. Ideology and movements based on ideologies

This speaks to the authority that comes with the capacity for influencing public opinion and mobilizing support for particular viewpoints. Propaganda, education, and the mass media are just a few of the tools that can be used to accomplish this.

It’s significant to remember that power structures can change based on the sort of government in question and the unique historical, cultural, and socioeconomic environment of the nation. In various political systems, some power sources may be more prevalent or important than others.


The ability to make and uphold decisions, regulations, and policies that have an impact on society is referred to as power in government. It can manifest in a variety of ways, including bureaucratic power, military power, and legislative and executive authority. Constitutional authority, popular sovereignty, legal authority, custom, and resource control are all examples of sources of power in a government.

It is essential to comprehend the many forms and sources of power in government in order to comprehend how political systems operate and how they may affect society. Understanding how power is allocated and wielded within a government is crucial because it can have a big impact on democracy and citizen rights.

Power in government is a complex and multifaceted concept, and it’s essential to study it from different perspectives to gain a comprehensive understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between legislative and executive power?

Legislative power refers to the authority to make laws, while executive power refers to the authority to enforce laws and carry out the day-to-day administration of government.

How does popular sovereignty relate to the power of government?

Popular sovereignty is the belief that the power of government ultimately comes from the consent of the governed. In a democracy, the government’s power is legitimized by the fact that it is elected by the people.

Can the judiciary have power in government?

Yes, the judiciary has the authority to interpret laws and hear legal disputes, which is known as judicial power.

What is bureaucratic power and how does it relate to government?

Bureaucratic power refers to the authority held by government officials and agencies who are responsible for implementing laws and policies. They are not elected but are appointed by the executive.

How does the control of resources affect the power of the government?

Control of resources can give the government significant economic and political power. This can include control over land, money, and natural resources.

Can an ideology or an ideology-based movement influence the power of government?

Yes, an ideology or an ideology-based movement can shape public opinion and mobilize support for certain ideas or beliefs. This can give government officials significant power to implement policies and make decisions.



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