Apart from the main charging, starting and ignition circuits, there are other circuits that power lights, electric motors, the sensors and gauges of electrical instruments, heating elements, magnetically operated locks, the radio and so on. All Circuits are opened and closed either by switches or by relays - remote switches operated by electromagnets.
If the cable overheated, there could be a fire. The fuse prevents that happening, because its thin wire will melt and break the circuit long before the cable itself can heat up and burn. Some cars have only two fuses. One rated at about 30-50 amps protects components wired through the ignition switch — flashers, wipers, heater-motor and instruments.
The individual fuses in the box are usually numbered, so that sorting out which one may have blown is simplified by referring to the numbered list in the handbook. This should tell you which fuse protects which circuit. Where they are not numbered, take out each fuse in turn and see which component stops working.
This type of circuit is called an earth-return system any part of it connected to the car body is said to be earthed.