Constitution of the United States Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Assess the meaning of the U.S. Constitution in terms of desiring a strong, centralized political system and emphasizing individual rights.

Expert Answers info

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The meaning of the Constitution in terms of its desire to create a strong central government as well as protect the sanctity of individual rights reflects the debates that were ravaging the Constitutional Convention.  At its time of adoption, delegates to the Constitutional Convention were torn, particularly on the role of government.  A fairly good proportion of the convention was convinced of the certainty of the need for a strong and centralized government.  At the same time, a fairly good size of the delegation also believed that individual rights had to be the defining element of the new government.  In this, the Constitution reflects a compromise between both factions.  There is a source of supremacy in the document, clearly asserting that the federal government is superior to local municipalities and that a strong centralized notion of government is the only way to prevent total chaos.  Yet, this exists side by side with a clear appeal to individual rights, as seen in the Bill of Rights.  This seeming contradiction becomes the fruit of compromise, something that makes the Constitution contradictory on one level, but eerily able to function and persevere through such a logical fallacy.  This genius contributes to its meaning, one in which compromise and negotiation can result in entities that benefit more people in both short and long term frames of reference.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial