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#82: Kansas Takes Steps Towards Statehood

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

Now, we continue the story of America's fourteenth president, Franklin Pierce.

Pierce was elected in eighteen fifty-two. He was a compromise candidate of the Democratic Party. He was well-liked. But he was not considered a strong leader.

富蘭克林·皮爾斯1852年當選美國第14位總統。皮爾斯是經過民主黨內部兩派力量的妥協產生的。他很有人緣,但不是一位強勢領袖。

Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce

The eighteen fifties were an increasingly tense time in the United States. Most of the population lived east of the Mississippi River. But more and more people were moving west. As western areas became populated, they became official territories, and then new states.

十九世紀五十年代,美國日益動蕩。大多數人住在密西西比河以東,但是越來越多的人開始西進。隨著西部地區居民的增加,這些地區逐漸進入美國版圖,最后成為美國新增的州。

What kind of laws would these new territories and states have? Would the laws be decided by the Congress in Washington? Or would they be voted on by the people living in them? The biggest legal question affecting western lands was slavery.

這些地區和州應該遵守哪些法律,法律由國會制定,還是由當地居民自己制定?西部新增土地面臨的最大的法律問題就是奴隸制度的存廢。

This week in our series, Rich Kleinfeldt and Shirley Griffith tell more about the long disputed issue of slavery and the Kansas-Missouri bill.

VOICE ONE:

Owning another human being was legal in many parts of the United States at that time. Slaves were considered property, like furniture and farm animals.

當時,奴隸制度在美國很多地方都是合法的,奴隸被看做是私人財產,跟家具、牲口沒什么兩樣。

People who owned negro slaves wanted to take all their property -- including the slaves -- with them when they moved west. People who opposed slavery did not want it to spread. Some of them considered slavery a moral issue. They believed it violated the laws of God. An increasing number of white Americans, however, saw slavery as an economic issue. They wanted new states to be free from slavery, so they would not have to compete with slave labor.

奴隸主向西部遷徙的時候,希望能帶著自己的全部財產,其中當然也包括奴隸在內。然而,奴隸制度的反對者不希望看到奴隸制的進一步推廣。一些廢奴主義者認為奴隸制是一個道義的問題,違反了上帝的教誨。與此同時,越來越多的白人開始把奴隸制度看做經濟問題。他們希望新增土地上杜絕奴隸的存在,這樣一來,就排除了奴隸勞力帶來的競爭。

VOICE TWO:

The United States had been established as a democracy. Yet slavery existed. America's early leaders knew that trying to end slavery probably would split the nation in two. So they looked for compromises. They decided it was better to save the Union...even if it was not perfect...than to watch the Union end.

美國雖然建立了民主體制,但奴隸制度依然存在。美國早期領導人知道,強行結束奴隸制可能會造成國家分裂,因此努力尋求妥協。他們寧肯要一個不完美的聯邦,也不愿意看到聯邦解體。

Like other presidents, Franklin Pierce hoped to avoid the issue. He also believed that earlier legislation had settled the debate. In eighteen twenty, Congress had passed the Missouri Compromise. It extended a line across the map of the United States. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line, slavery was not legal, except in Missouri.

跟其它總統一樣,皮爾斯也希望回避奴隸制的問題。他覺得此前的立法已經解決了分歧。1820年,國會通過密蘇里協定,一條線將美國一分為二,界線以南奴隸制合法,以北地區除去密蘇里以外,奴隸制度屬于非法。

Thirty years later, another political compromise made the situation less clear.

三十年后的1850年妥協法案讓這一立法變得模糊不清。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The compromise of eighteen fifty made slavery a local issue, instead of a national issue, in several western territories. It said the people in those territories had the right to decide for themselves if slavery would be legal or illegal.

1850年妥協法案使奴隸的存廢成了西部的地方性、而并非全國性問題。法案規定,西部新增土地上的居民有權自行決定奴隸制的存廢。

Within a few years, that law caused a new debate in Congress. Lawmakers argued: was the peoples' right to decide the issue of slavery restricted only to the territories named in the compromise of eighteen fifty? Or was the right extended to the people of all future territories?

短短幾年后,這項法案在國會了引發了一場辯論。國會議員提出疑問,當地居民自行決定奴隸存廢的權利只限于法案中羅列的西部地區,還是可以適用于今后所有的新增地區呢?

VOICE TWO:

The answer came in eighteen fifty-four. In that year, Congress debated a proposal to create two territories from one large area in the west. The northern part would be known as the Nebraska territory. The southern part would be known as the Kansas territory. Settlers in both new territories would have the right to decide the question of slavery.

1854年,問題有了答案。當時,有人提議把西部一大片土地切割開來,分為兩個區域,北部是今天的內布拉斯加,南部是今天的堪薩斯。這兩片地區的定居者有權自行決定奴隸制的存廢。

President Pierce did not like the Kansas-Nebraska bill. He feared it would re-open the bitter, national debate about slavery. He did not want to have to deal with the results. Tensions were increasing. Violence was increasingly possible.

皮爾斯總統不喜歡堪薩斯-內布拉斯加議案,擔心會重新點燃奴隸制存廢之爭的激烈辯論,他不愿看到辯論結果。緊張情緒不斷加劇,暴力沖突一觸即發。

The Kansas-Nebraska bill had a lot of support in the Senate. It passed easily. The bill had less support in the House of Representatives. The vote there was close, but the measure passed. President Pierce finally agreed to sign it. In exchange, congressional leaders promised to approve several presidential appointments.

堪薩斯-內布拉斯加議案在參議院輕松過關,但是在眾議院里遇到了阻力,投票結果非常接近,最后勉強通過。皮爾斯總統只好同意在議案上簽字。做為交換,國會領袖保證批準若干總統任命。

Supporters of the Kansas-Nebraska bill celebrated their victory. They fired cannons as the city of Washington was waking to a new day. Two senators who opposed the bill heard the noise as they walked down the steps of the capitol building. One of them said: "They celebrate a victory now. But the echoes they awake will never rest until slavery itself is dead."

議案在國會通過后,議案的支持者們一大早放炮慶祝,兩位反對議案的參議員走下國會大廈臺階時聽到炮聲,其中一位參議員說:“他們現在可以慶祝勝利,但是除非奴隸制度終結,否則他們引起的回響絕不會停息。”

VOICE ONE:

The new bill gave the people of Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide if slavery would be legal or illegal. The vote would depend on who settled in the territories. It was not likely that people who owned slaves would settle in Nebraska. However, there was a good chance that they would settle in Kansas.

根據新法案,堪薩斯和內布拉斯加的居民有權自行決定奴隸制是否合法。這就意味著,奴隸制的存廢取決于什么人在那里定居。

Groups in the South organized quickly to help pro-slavery settlers move to Kansas. At the same time, groups in the North helped free-state settlers move there, too.

南方人迅速組織起來,幫助支持奴隸制的人遷往堪薩斯。北方人不甘示弱,也協助主張廢奴的人搬到那里去。

VOICE TWO:

A map of the Territory of Kansas
A map of the Territory of Kansas

Some of the northern groups were companies called emigrant aid societies. Shares of these companies were sold to the public. The money was used to help build towns and farms in Kansas. Owners of the companies hoped to make a lot of money from the development.

北方出現了一些叫做移民協助社團的公司,公司股票上市,從社會上集資,在堪薩斯興建城鎮和農場,公司股東希望能從中謀利。

The southern effort to settle Kansas was led mostly by slave-owning farmers in Missouri. They believed that peace in Missouri depended on what happened in Kansas. They did not want to live next to a territory where slavery was not legal.

南方的主要推手是密蘇里的農場奴隸主。他們相信,密蘇里州的和平取決于堪薩斯的局勢,他們不希望自己旁邊出現一塊自由的土地。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

In Washington, President Pierce announced the appointment of Andrew Reeder to be governor of the Kansas territory. Pro-slavery settlers urged Reeder to hold immediate elections for a territorial legislature. They believed they were in the majority. They wanted a vote before too many free-state settlers moved in. The legislature would have the power to keep the territory open to slavery and, in time, help it become a slave state.

皮爾斯總統任命安德魯·里德爾擔任堪薩斯地區的總督。支持蓄奴的定居者敦促里德爾立即舉行議會選舉,因為他們自認為占有優勢,希望在更多主張廢奴的人來到之前盡快投票,讓自己人進入議會,逐漸推動堪薩斯成為一個奴隸州。

VOICE TWO:

Andrew Reeder
Andrew Reeder

Governor Reeder rejected the demands. He decided to hold an election, but only for a territorial representative to the national Congress. On election day, hundreds of men from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas. They voted illegally, and the pro-slavery candidate won.

里德爾總督拒絕了他們的要求。他決定舉行選舉,但是只推選堪薩斯的聯邦國會代表。選舉日那天,數以百計的人從密蘇里跨界進入堪薩斯,非法投票,結果主張蓄奴的候選人當選。

The same thing happened when Kansas finally held an election for a legislature. Governor Reeder took steps to make the voting fair. His efforts were not completely successful. Once again, men from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas. Many of them carried guns. They forced election officials to count their illegal votes. As a result, almost every pro-slavery candidate was elected to the new legislature.

堪薩斯舉行地方議會選舉時,這種情況再次發生,盡管里德爾采取了防范措施,但還是有人從密蘇里偷偷進入堪薩斯,很多人還隨身帶著槍,他們強迫選舉官員接受他們的非法選票,結果,幾乎所有支持蓄奴的候選人都被選進了議會。

VOICE ONE:

The governor ordered an investigation. The investigation showed evidence of wrong-doing in six areas, and new elections were held in those areas. This time, when only legal votes were counted, many of the pro-slavery candidates were defeated. Yet there were still enough pro-slavery candidates to have a majority.

里德爾總督下令調查,結果在六個地區發現了造假的證據,因此重新選舉,在只計算合法選票的情況下,很多主張蓄奴的候選人敗下陣來,但是議會里主張蓄奴的人還是占據多數。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Andrew Reeder was governor of a bitterly divided territory. He wanted to warn President Pierce about what was happening.

里德爾總督看到自己轄區里的嚴重分歧,希望提醒皮爾斯注意。

Reeder went to Washington. He met with Pierce almost every day for two weeks. He described how pro-slavery groups in Missouri were interfering in Kansas. He said if the state of Missouri refused to deal with the trouble-makers, then the national government must deal with them. He asked the president to do something.

他趕往華盛頓,連續兩個星期,幾乎每天都去見皮爾斯。他告訴皮爾斯說,密蘇里主張蓄奴的團體在堪薩斯搗亂,如果密蘇里州不對付這幫人的話,聯邦政府就得出面。他要求皮爾斯采取行動。

VOICE ONE:

Pierce agreed that Kansas was a serious problem. He seemed ready to act. So Reeder returned home and opened the first meeting of the territorial legislature. The pro-slavery majority quickly voted to move to a town close to the Missouri border. It also approved several pro-slavery measures.

皮爾斯同意里德爾的意見,承認堪薩斯的問題確實很嚴重,他似乎決心采取行動。里德爾因此啟程返回堪薩斯,召開了堪薩斯的第一次議會會議。支持奴隸制的議會多數迅速投票,決定遷往靠近密蘇里州界的一個城鎮,并通過了幾項有利于奴隸制的措施。

Governor Reeder vetoed these bills. But there were enough votes to reject his veto and pass the new laws.

里德爾否決了這些議案,但是議會多數駁回了他的否決,通過了這些新法。

VOICE TWO:

Wilson Shannon
Wilson Shannon

The Kansas legislature also sent a message to President Pierce. It wanted him to remove Andrew Reeder as governor. Political pressure was strong, and the president agreed. He named a new governor, Wilson Shannon. Shannon supported the pro-slavery laws of the legislature. He also said Kansas should become a slave state, like Missouri.

堪薩斯地方議會還寫信給皮爾斯總統,希望他撤銷里德爾的總督職務。迫于巨大的政治壓力,皮爾斯總統只好同意。他任命威爾遜·香農接替總督的職務,香農支持地方議會通過的支持蓄奴的法案,并表示,堪薩斯應該跟密蘇里一樣,成為一個奴隸州。

Free-state leaders were extremely angry. They felt they could not get fair treatment from either the president or the new governor. So they took an unusual step. They met and formed their own government in opposition to the elected government of the territory. It would not be long before the situation in Kansas became violent.

這種發展引起了自由州領袖的極度憤怒。他們覺得無論是皮爾斯總統,還是新任總督,都不會公正處理這件事,因此決定采取一個不同尋常的行動,組建了自己的地方政府,跟華盛頓承認的地方政府唱反調??八_斯逐漸走向暴力。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Rich Kleinfeldt and Shirley Griffith. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs can be found along with historical images at www.666321.live. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #82 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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