Interested in Language
I thought that "the people" means "the nation", but today on TV I heard this sentence: "The local government must take steps to protect the people from the effects of the imminent hurricane", so clearly not the whole nation was meant. Would "people" instead of "the people" be acceptable here?
Context matters. In this case "the people" does not refer to citizens/inhabitants of the USA, but it does refer to inhabitants of particular regions facing this storm.