An 1880 view of the construction of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.


Can you imagine living in a place with no government? The earliest Iowans realized people survive best when there are laws and rules in place. That's why the native Iowans formed tribal councils and treaties. When Europeans moved into the Iowa land they were quick to set up laws and a form of government. Many of those ideas are still in place today.

Today Iowans rely on the government to provide laws, law enforcement, courts and other public services such as health, transportation, education, utilities, fire protection and libraries. Without laws and courts, criminals could go unpunished. Without services provided by the government, people would have to rely on friends and neighbors to help if a house caught fire. Public recreation facilities might not be available for everyone.

Explore how the laws and services we have today came about. In what ways does government in Iowa impact your life?