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Local Government
Guide: Structure of Local Government

These resources highlight the different ways local government can be structured. Use these resources to help students understand how local governments can be structured and the impact those structures have on how local governments function. 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

  • Compare and contrast the three primary types of local government organization.
  • Why are special purpose districts critical to the provision of local government services?


  1. Overview: Structure of Local Government
  2. Visuals: Structure of Local Government (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Layers of Local Government
  7. Lesson: 2-Municipal Governments
  8. Lesson: 3-Special Purpose Districts
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: city council
  11. Glossary Terms: council-manager system
  12. Glossary Terms: mayor-council system
  13. Glossary Terms: special purpose district
  14. Glossary Terms: unincorporated area
  15. Reference Articles: Local Government Systems
  16. Political, Government & Court Documents: Monell v. Department of Social Services (1978)

MLA Citation

"Structure of Local Government." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156181. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156181

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