Government is the organization through which the state expresses its will, enforces its commands, and administers its functions. Government comprises the aggregate of the instrumentalities through which the state operates; it includes the executive, legislative, and judicial organs, also the machinery of public administration and the diplomatic service through which foreign affairs are conducted; it excludes, however, the public armed services of the state. The term "government" is sometimes applied to the machinery through which private organizations and societies—church bodies, labor unions, social organizations, etc.—express the group will, but the usage of the word is generally limited to the field of political science.
Government is only one of several means of social control. Other institutions which exercise control over human behavior are the family, the community, and the church. The normal method of control used by government is compulsion; the other institutions rely largely on habit, custom, social pressure, and religious sanctions. Some sociologists contend that the control exercised by government is artificial as opposed to the "natural" control exerted by the other social institutions. Originally in primitive society government was not a separate institution, but was usually inextricably interwoven with family, community, and religion.