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#18: Finding the Right Plan for a New Government

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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

In May of seventeen eighty-seven, a group of America's early leaders met in Philadelphia. They planned to make changes in the Articles of Confederation. Those articles provided for a loose union of the thirteen states. Instead of changes, however, the leaders wrote a new document. It established America's system of government and guaranteed the rights of its citizens. It is still the law of the land.

1787年5月,美國早期領袖在費城開會,他們原計劃對確定了美國13個州松散體制的《邦聯條例》進行修正,但最后卻編纂了一部全新的憲法。這份政治文件創立了美國的政府體系,承認了公民享有的權利,至今依舊是美國的根本大法。

I'm Shep O'Neal. Today, Blake Lanum and I continue the story of the United States Constitution.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The Assembly Room at the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall
The Assembly Room at the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall

The story does not flow easily. The reason is a rule made by the delegates. From the beginning, they agreed that the convention had the right to change its decisions.

然而,制憲大會的進展并非一帆風順。會議一開始,與會代表就一致同意,大會有權改變已經做出的決定。

The convention did not just discuss a proposal, vote on it and move on to other issues. Any delegate could ask to re-discuss any proposal or any decision. And they often did. Every man who saw one of his ideas defeated brought it up again later. The same speeches that were made the first time were made again. So days, even weeks, passed between discussions of the same proposal.

因此,提案并不是討論后投票表決就算完事了,任何代表都可以要求對任何議題進行重新討論。這樣一來,很多被否決的議題幾天、甚至幾周后又會提上日程,代表們就此不厭其煩地辯論。

The story of the Philadelphia convention would be difficult to understand if we told about events day-by-day. So, we will put the calendar and the clock away, and tell how each major question was debated and settled.

如果以流水帳的方式講述費城制憲大會的始末,恐怕會讓人十分費解,因此我們的故事只好圍繞主要議題展開。

VOICE ONE:

After the delegates agreed that the convention could change its decisions, they agreed on a rule of secrecy. Guards were placed at the doors of the State House. Newspaper reporters were not permitted inside. And delegates could not discuss convention business in public.

除了可以改變決定外,大會代表還通過了一項保密規則。他們在議會大樓外面安排站崗的衛兵,報社記者一律不許旁聽,會議代表也不得公開討論會議內容。

The secrecy rule led people to get many strange ideas about the convention, especially in Europe.

保密規則引起了人們對大會的各種猜測,特別是在歐洲。

There, most people believed the convention was discussing how America could be ruled by a king. Europeans said a republican government worked in a small country, such as Switzerland, but not, they said, in a land as large as America.

大多數歐洲人都相信,這次大會是要討論在美國設立王權。歐洲人認為,共和體制只適合于瑞士這種小國家,在美國這樣幅員遼闊的國家行不通。

So some of them began talking about which European prince might be asked to become king of America. Some were sure it would be Prince Henry of Prussia. Others said it would be Prince Frederick Augustus, the second son of King George the Third of Britain.

不少人開始猜測,哪位歐洲王子將出任美國國王。有人覺得肯定是普魯士的亨利王子,另外一些人更看好英國國王喬治三世的次子弗雷德里克·奧古斯塔斯王子。

Without news reports from Philadelphia, even some Americans believed these stories.

在新聞封鎖的情況下,就連很多美國人也都對這些說法將信將疑。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

At the time of the convention, Thomas Jefferson was serving as America's representative to France. When he learned of the secrecy rule, he was angry. He believed strongly in freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

制憲大會召開時,托馬斯·杰斐遜擔任美國駐法國代表。他聽說會議采取保密措施后,非常氣憤,因為他堅信,言論和新聞應該自由。

More than forty years later, James Madison explained the decision behind the rule.

直到四十多年后,詹姆斯·麥迪遜才解釋了大會采取保密規則的原因。

Madison said that if the convention had been open to the public, no delegate would ever change his mind after speaking on an issue. To do so would mean he was wrong the first time he spoke. And no delegate would be willing to admit to the public that he had made a mistake. Madison said if the meetings had been open, the convention would have failed.

他說,如果大會對外公開的話,任何大會代表都不會改變自己的主張,因為這樣做就意味著公開承認自己原來是錯的。麥迪遜說,如果制憲大會沒有保密,肯定會一敗涂地。

VOICE ONE:

Another rule helped the delegates speak freely. It was a method of debate called the committee of the whole. It may seem a foolish method. But it was useful then and still is today in legislatures. It is a way for people to discuss ideas, vote, and then change their minds. Their votes -- while in committee -- are not recorded permanently.

大會另外一項有助于代表們暢所欲言的規則是"全體委員會"的辯論方式。雖然聽起來有些好笑,但這種方式直到今天依然很有效。根據這一方式,大家可以就提案展開討論、進行投票表決,并隨時改變立場。只要是處于委員會階段,他們的投票就不會進入永久性記錄。

To have the Philadelphia convention become a committee of the whole, the delegates needed to elect a chairman of the committee. They chose Nathaniel Gorham, a judge from Massachusetts.

為了讓費城會議成為"全體委員會",與會代表推選來自麻薩諸塞的法官納撒尼爾·戈勒姆擔任委員會主席。

Each morning at ten o'clock, the convention met and declared it was sitting as a committee of the whole. George Washington then left the president's chair. Nathaniel Gorham took his place.

每天早上十點,大會代表聚在一起,宣布大會是"全體委員會",喬治·華盛頓起身離開大會主席的座位,讓委員會主席納撒尼爾·戈勒姆坐下。

Just before four o'clock in the afternoon, the committee of the whole declared it was sitting again as a convention. Judge Gorham stepped down, and General Washington took the chair. He declared that the convention would meet again the next morning.

下午四點,"全體委員會"又宣布恢復為"費城會議",納撒尼爾·戈勒姆把位置讓給喬治·華盛頓,然后由華盛頓宣布會議第二天早上繼續。

This process was repeated every day.

這是每天都要走的過場。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

On May twenty-ninth, the delegates heard the Virginia Plan. This was the plan of government prepared by James Madison and other delegates from the state of Virginia.

5月29號,會議代表們聽取了維吉尼亞的詹姆斯·杰斐遜等代表提出的政府計劃。

The thirty-three-year-old governor of Virginia, Edmund Randolph, presented the plan. First, he spoke about America's existing plan of government, the Articles of Confederation. Governor Randolph praised the Articles and the men who wrote them. He called those men "wise" and "great." But, he said, the articles were written for thirteen states in a time of war. Something more was needed now for the new nation. Something permanent.

當時年僅33歲的維吉尼亞州州長埃德蒙·倫道夫介紹了這項計劃。他一上來先對美國現行的《邦聯條例》大加贊賞,稱編纂這一條例的人"明智"、"偉大"。不過,他又補充說,《邦聯條例》是為戰爭期間的十三個州寫的,如今美國已經成為一個獨立的國家,因此需要在《邦聯條例》的基礎上進行補充,需要有一份永久性文件。

VOICE ONE:

George Washington's copy of the Virginia Plan
George Washington's copy of the Virginia Plan

Governor Randolph spoke of conditions in all the states. He told the delegates what they already knew was true. Government was breaking down in many parts of the country.

埃德蒙·倫道夫州長談到了美國十三州的現狀。他說的一切,其實與會代表都知道,那就是,美國很多地方的政府都已經難以為繼了。

As he presented the Virginia Plan, Edmund Randolph noted that its fifteen parts were just ideas. The state of Virginia, he said, did not want to force them on the convention. Yet the ideas should be discussed. Change them as you wish, he told the convention. But talk about them fully.

埃德蒙·倫道夫指出,維吉尼亞代表在計劃中提出了十五點主張,絕對沒有把這些主張強加給費城大會的意思,希望代表們能深入討論,各抒己見。

Other delegates presented their own plans for discussion. We will talk about some of them in later programs. But from the beginning, the Virginia Plan had the most influence. For more than three months, delegates would debate each part, vote on it, then debate it again.

雖然其他州的代表也提出了各自的計劃,但是從一開始,維吉尼亞的計劃就是最具影響力的。在接下來的三個月里,代表們對計劃里的條款逐項討論,投票表決,有時還會再次討論。

The Virginia Plan formed the basis of discussion at the convention in Philadelphia. In the end, it formed the basis of the United States Constitution.

維吉尼亞代表提出的計劃成了費城制憲大會討論的基礎,并最終成為美國憲法的基礎。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The announced purpose of the convention was to change the Articles of Confederation to make them more effective. The Virginia Plan was not a plan of proposed changes. It was much more extreme. It was, in fact, a plan for a completely new central government.

費城大會原本是要對《邦聯條例》進行改進,使其更加有效,但是維吉尼亞代表提出的計劃卻是要建立一個全新的中央政府。

Debate on the Virginia Plan began May thirtieth. Immediately, Edmund Randolph proposed an amendment. The plan, he noted, spoke of a federal union of states. But such a federation would not work. Instead, he said, America's central government should be a national government. It should contain a supreme legislature, executive and judiciary.

與會代表們從5月30號開始對這項計劃展開辯論。埃德蒙·倫道夫一上來就提出了一項修正案,他指出,計劃要求建立各州聯盟是行不通的。他認為,美國的中央政府應該是一個國家政府,包括最高立法、行政和司法機構。

VOICE ONE:

For a few moments, there was complete silence. Many of the delegates seemed frozen in their chairs. Did they hear correctly?

埃德蒙·倫道夫話音落后,會議廳里一片寂靜。很多代表都好像僵在了那里,懷疑自己是不是聽錯了。

Most of them did not question the idea of a government with three separate parts. Several states already had such a system. But to create a central government that was "national" and "supreme" -- what did these words mean exactly? What was the difference?

對于大多數代表來說,三權分立不成問題,因為當時很多州已經實行了這種體制,但要建立一個"國家的""享有最高權力的"中央政府,這到底意味著什么呢?

The delegates debated the meaning of these words -- federal, national, supreme -- for many days. Both James Madison and Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania tried to explain.

在接下來的很長時間里,與會代表圍繞"聯邦、國家、最高"這些詞的定義展開了激烈討論。詹姆斯·麥迪遜和賓夕法尼亞州州長格瓦諾·莫里斯提出了不同的解釋。

Madison said a federal government acts on states. A national government acts directly on the people.

麥迪遜說,聯邦政府針對州采取行動,而國家政府直接針對人民。

Morris gave this explanation. A federal government is simply an agreement based on the good faith of those involved. A national government has a complete system of operation and its own powers.

莫里斯則認為,聯邦政府只不過是根據各方誠意達成的協議,而國家政府擁有完整的運作系統和權力。

VOICE TWO:

Pierce Butler of South Carolina wanted to know why a national government was necessary. Did the states need to be national?

南卡羅來納的皮爾斯·巴特勒想知道,為什么有必要建立一個國家政府。

"But we are a nation!" John Dickinson of Delaware answered. "We are a nation although made of parts, or states."

德拉瓦的約翰·迪金森回答說,"可我們是一個國家??!我們是一個由很多州組成的國家。

Gouverneur Morris continued. He spoke of the future when the delegates meeting in Philadelphia would be dead. Their children and grandchildren, he said, would stop thinking of themselves as citizens of Pennsylvania or New York or North Carolina. Instead, they would think of themselves as citizens of the United States.

"莫里斯接著談到了未來。他說,今天在費城參加會議的代表們的子子孫孫不會認為自己是賓夕法尼亞、紐約、或是北卡羅來納的公民,他們會把自己看成是美國公民。

"This generation will die away," Morris said, "and be followed by a race of Americans."

莫里斯說,我們這一代人會死去,我們的后代就是美國人。

Morris declared that the states had to take second place to a national government with supreme power. "It is better to take a supreme government now," he said, "than a dictator twenty years from now. For come he must."

他表示,各州一定要隸屬于一個享有最高權力的國家政府,因為"現在就建立一個最高政府,比20年后肯定會出現的獨裁者強。"

In the end, the delegates approved the proposal for a national government. Next week, we will tell about the debate over a national executive, the part of the government that would enforce the laws.

與會代表最終通過了建立國家政府的提案。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English, on radio or online. I'm Shep O'Neal with Blake Lanum. Transcripts and MP3s of our programs are at www.666321.live.

網友的學習評論(6條):
作者:流櫻豪
good
作者:Wanigfuney
怎么變成中文朗讀了?
作者:xuding45
Many delegates had a meeting in Philadelphia. They planed to make some changes in the Articles of Confedertion,but in the end it established American' system. During a long time' debated they aslo writered a new constitution.
作者:fly
Great, wise man who builded one nation. I think that it is same for every conturies among the world. Think of the time then, how difficult it is, how lucky we are! And hope people who are forced by war now would get a live peacefully as early as possible.
作者:鄭烈波
for a few moments,there was complete silence.
作者:hliu
People have the right to speak and press, but in order to fight for them these delegates first dismissed outsiders' those rights. For the sake of talking freely, they agreed to use a simple mechod of committees.
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