We're glad you're enjoying History Hub Community. To access the rest of History Hub and thousands of more resources like this one, log in here. Or learn how to become a subscriber here.

Local Government
Guide: Functions of Local Government

These resources help explain the various functions of local government in communities across the United States. Use these resources to help students understand the services local government provides and how those differ from the services provided by states and the federal government. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Local governments play a critical role in citizens' everyday lives, providing services such as police and fire protection, utilities, and education
  • The size and organization of a local government impacts the way it functions
  • State government structures resemble that of the federal government with responsibilities and powers split between three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial
  • State governments both share some responsibilities with the federal government and have some separate areas of responsibility
  • The resources of a community impact its government's policies and effectiveness
  • States often serve as laboratories for government policy at the national level
  • States' election policies directly impact political outcomes at all levels of government

Key Questions

  • Why is local government so critical to the everyday lives of citizens?
  • Find two examples from American history where changing conditions lead to significant changes in the way local governments planned for growth and provided services.
  • Why are there often such great disparities in the level of service provided by local government agencies?


  1. Overview: Functions of Local Government
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Protective Services
  6. Lesson: 2-Quality of Life Services
  7. Lesson: 3-Social Services
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Reference Articles: Land Use and Growth Management
  10. Reference Articles: Public Transportation
  11. Reference Articles: Tammany Hall
  12. Reference Articles: Urban Planning
  13. Reference Articles: Zoning
  14. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to "Blow Over" - "Let Us Prey" (1871)
  15. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: "The Tammany Alliance" political cartoon (Puck, 1897)
  16. Political, Government & Court Documents: Buchanan v. Warley (1917)
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: New York State Local Government Handbook (2011)
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973)

MLA Citation

"Functions of Local Government." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156148. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.

View all citation styles.

Entry ID: 2156148

back to top