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#93: Lincoln Takes Presidency of a Nation in Crisis

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

Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election in November of eighteen sixty. When he took office several months later, he faced the most serious crisis in American history. The southern states had finally acted on their earlier threats. They had begun to leave the Union over the issue of slavery.

亞伯拉罕.林肯1860年11月當選美國總統。他宣誓就職時,面臨著美國歷史上最嚴峻的危機。因為南方各州終于就奴隸制存廢問題開始將退出聯邦的威脅付諸行動了。

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant talk about this critical time in American history.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

VOICE ONE:

The southern states did not want Abraham Lincoln to win the election of eighteen sixty. Lincoln was a Republican. And the Republican Party opposed slavery. Lincoln never said he wanted to end slavery in the South. He did not believe anyone had the right to do so. Yet he did not want to see slavery spread to other parts of the United States.

南方各州不希望林肯當選。他是共和黨人,而共和黨反對蓄奴。林肯從沒說過要結束南方的奴隸制。他覺得什么人都沒有權利這樣做;但同時,他也不希望看到奴隸制度的進一步擴張。

Lincoln told southerners: "You think slavery is right and should be extended, while we think it is wrong and should be limited. That, I suppose, is the trouble. It surely is the only important difference between us."

林肯告訴南方人說,“你們認為奴隸制是正確的,應該推廣;我們認為奴隸制是錯誤的,應該限制。這就是問題所在,是我們之間唯一的嚴重分歧。”

VOICE TWO:

Pro-slavery extremists felt this difference was enough. And they were sure Lincoln and his Republicans would soon win control of Congress and the Supreme Court. Before long, they thought, the Constitution would be changed. Slavery would become illegal everywhere.

在主張蓄奴的極端主義者看來,這一點就足夠了。他們相信,林肯和他所在的共和黨用不了多久就會贏得國會和聯邦最高法院的控制權。接下來,他們就會修改憲法,全面禁止奴隸制度。

Even if this did not happen, southerners were worried. Unless slavery could spread, they said, the slave population in the South would become too large. In time, blacks and whites would battle for control. One or the other would be destroyed.

就算這種情況不發生,南方人還是憂心忡忡。他們指出,除非將奴隸制對外推廣,否則的話,南方奴隸的人數遲早會過剩,讓黑人和白人為控制權發生沖突,其中一方終將被消滅。

So even before the presidential election, southerners began discussing what they would do if Abraham Lincoln won.

因此,總統選舉前,南方人就開始考慮如果林肯當選、他們應當采取的對策了。

VOICE ONE:

Early in October, the governor of South Carolina, William Gist, wrote letters to the governors of other southern states. He said they should agree on what action to take if Lincoln became president.

十月初,南卡羅來納州州長威廉.吉斯特寫信給南方各州。信中說,大家應該共商大計,考慮林肯一旦當選,他們應該采取的行動。

William Gist
William Gist

Gist said South Carolina would call a state convention as soon as the election results were made official. If any state decided to leave the Union, he said, South Carolina would follow. If no other state decided to leave, then South Carolina would secede by itself.

吉斯特說,大選結果一宣布,南卡羅來納州就要召集特別大會。吉斯特還說,如果有其它什么州宣布退出聯邦,南卡羅來納州一定緊隨其后。如果其它州都決定留在聯邦里,南卡羅來納州就單槍匹馬,自己行動。

Governor Gist received mixed answers.

南方各州在回信中表達了各自的立場。

Two states -- Alabama and Mississippi -- said they would not secede alone. But they said they would join others that made this decision. Two more states -- Louisiana and Georgia -- said they would not secede unless the north acted against them. And one state -- North Carolina -- said it had not yet decided what to do.

阿拉巴馬州和密西西比州表示,他們不會單獨退出聯邦,但是愿意跟在其它州后面。路易斯安那州和喬治亞州說,除非北方對南方采取行動,否則他們不會退出聯邦。北卡羅來納州表示,還沒有決定要怎樣做。

No southern governor, except William Gist of South Carolina, seemed willing to lead the South out of the Union.

除了南卡羅來納州州長吉斯特以外,似乎沒有人愿意帶領頭退出聯邦。

VOICE TWO:

Abraham Lincoln was elected president on November sixth, eighteen sixty. South Carolina exploded with excitement at the news. To many of the people there, Lincoln's victory was a signal that ended the state's ties to the Union. To them, it was the beginning of southern independence.

1860年11月6號,亞伯拉罕.林肯當選總統。消息傳來,南卡羅來納州群情激昂。對于很多人來說,林肯的勝利就意味著南卡羅來納州跟美國聯邦的一刀兩斷,標志著南方獨立的開始。

Both United States Senators from South Carolina resigned. So did a federal judge and the collector of federal taxes. United States flags were lowered. State flags were raised in their place.

來自南卡羅來納州的兩位聯邦參議員、一名聯邦大法官和一位聯邦稅務官員先后宣布辭職。美國國旗換成了南卡羅來納州的州旗。

The state legislature agreed to open a convention on December seventeenth. The convention would make the final decision on leaving the Union. Several other southern states did the same.

州議會決定12月17號召開特別大會,就退出聯邦一事做最后決定,南方其它幾個州也采取了類似行動。

VOICE ONE:

This idea of leaving the Union -- secession -- split North and South just as much as slavery. Southerners claimed they had the right to secede peacefully. Northerners disagreed. They said secession was treason. They said it would lead to civil war.

退出聯邦的問題,跟奴隸存廢的問題一樣,是南北雙方意見分歧的焦點。南方人聲稱,自己有權和平退出聯邦,但是北方人并不認同,他們覺得這是叛國,會引發內戰。

In the months before Lincoln's inauguration, President James Buchanan tried to deal with the situation. First he proposed a convention of all the states. The purpose of the convention would be to work out differences between North and South. The southern members of Buchanan's cabinet rejected this idea.

林肯宣誓就職前的幾個月里,總統布坎南試圖化解爭端。首先,布坎南建議召開一次全國性的特別大會,讓南、北雙方協商解決爭端,結果遭到了內閣里南方人的反對。

The second proposal was a strong policy statement on secession. The statement would include an opinion by the attorney general. It said the government could use force, if necessary, to keep states in the Union. The southern cabinet members rejected this idea, too.

布坎南又提出第二項方案,就是發表包括司法部長意見書的強硬的政策聲明,明確表示,為保全聯邦的完整,政府不惜動用武力。這項方案同樣遭到了內閣里南方人的拒絕。

VOICE TWO:

President Buchanan had to settle for a moderate policy statement on secession. It said the president could send troops into a state to help federal marshals enforce the rulings of federal courts. But if federal judges resigned, there would be no federal court rulings to enforce. Therefore, to send troops to a state where federal officers had resigned -- such as South Carolina -- would be an act of war against the state. And only Congress had the constitutional power to declare war.

布坎南只好同意緩和聲明的口氣,只強調說,總統有權派兵進駐某個州,協助聯邦警力執行聯邦法院的裁決。然而,如果聯邦法官辭職,沒有聯邦法院的裁決,就談不上執行和不執行的問題了。因此,向南卡羅來納州這種聯邦官員已經辭職的州派兵,無異于對這個州發動戰爭。按照美國憲法的規定,只有國會才有權宣戰。

Buchanan accepted this statement. He was only too happy to let Congress decide what to do.

布坎南接受了聲明的措辭,他巴不得讓國會來處理這個棘手的問題。

VOICE ONE:

South Carolina's congressional delegation, drawn by Winslow Homer in the Harper's Weekly of December 22, 1860
South Carolina's congressional delegation, drawn by Winslow Homer in the Harper's Weekly of December 22, 1860

There was little chance that Congress could do anything. Congressmen from both North and South already had made decisions that could not, and would not, be changed easily.

國會也束手無策。南卡羅來納和北卡羅來納州的國會議員都已經做出了難以改變的決定。

Most of the congressmen from states in the deep south supported secession. They did not want to remain in the Union. Many congressmen from states in the North had been elected because they promised to keep slavery from spreading to the western territories. They did not plan to break their promises.

來自美國大南方的多數國會議員都不想留在聯邦里,主張退出聯邦。與此同時,北方的很多議員都是因為保證不讓奴隸制向西部蔓延才當選的,他們也不愿意出爾反爾。

A few lawmakers hoped President Buchanan, in his yearly message to Congress, might propose a compromise.

一些議員希望布坎南在向國會發表的年度講話中,能夠提出妥協方案。

VOICE TWO:

Buchanan began by denouncing northern Abolitionists. He said they were responsible for the present problem. Their interference, he said, had created a great fear of slave rebellions in the South.

布坎南在國會講話中首先炮轟北方的廢奴主義者,說他們要為眼前的危機負責,是他們的干涉,引起了大家對南方奴隸起義的擔心。

Then Buchanan called on the South to accept the election of Abraham Lincoln. He said the election of a citizen to the office of president should not be a reason for dissolving the Union. Buchanan declared that the constitution gave no state the right to leave. But, he admitted, if a state did secede, there was little the federal government could do.

接下來,布坎南又要求南方人接受林肯當選總統的現實。布坎南說,任何一個美國公民按照選舉程序當選美國總統,都不應該成為聯邦解體的起因。布坎南宣稱,根據憲法,任何州都無權退出聯邦,但他同時承認,如果哪個州執意退出,聯邦政府也無技可施。

"The fact is," Buchanan said, "that our Union rests upon public opinion. It can never be held together by the blood of its citizens in civil war. If it cannot live in the hearts of its people, then it must one day die."

布坎南說,“歸根結底,我們的聯邦是以民意為基礎的,絕不能靠內戰的鮮血來維系,如果聯邦不能活在人民心中,就終將滅亡。”

James Buchanan
James Buchanan

VOICE ONE:

Buchanan proposed to Congress that it offer a constitutional amendment on the question of slavery.

布坎南建議國會就奴隸制問題提出一項憲法修正案。

He said the amendment should recognize the right to own slaves as property in states where slavery was permitted. It should protect this right in all territories until the territories became states. And it should end all state laws that interfered with the return of escaped slaves to their owners.

他說,修正案應該承認蓄奴州奴隸主對奴隸的所有權,在新增領土成為正式的州以前,這種權利也應該受到保護。修正案還要取消各州干涉將逃跑奴隸送還奴隸主的立法。

No one liked President Buchanan's message to Congress. Northerners did not like his declaration of federal weakness in the face of secession. Southerners did not like his declaration that secession was unconstitutional.

沒有人支持布坎南的講話。北方人不喜歡他面對國家分裂所表現出來的聯邦政府的無能為力。與此同時,退出聯邦違憲的說法又讓南方人難以接受。

The message did nothing to change the situation. Soon after it was read to Congress, South Carolina opened its secession convention.

布坎南的講話沒有收到任何效果。沒過多久,南卡羅來納州就召開了退出聯邦的特別大會。

VOICE TWO:

The Charleston Mercury announces the secession of South Carolina
The Charleston Mercury announces the secession of South Carolina

Delegates to the convention would make the final decision if South Carolina would remain in the Union or secede. There was little question how they would vote.

大會代表投票決定去留,結果其實早就板上釘釘了。

A committee wrote a secession resolution. The resolution said simply that the people of South Carolina were ending the agreement of seventeen eighty-eight in which the state had approved the Constitution of the United States. It said the Union existing between South Carolina and the United States of America was being dissolved.

大會的一個委員會負責撰寫退出聯邦的決議案。決議案簡單明了地宣布,南卡羅來納州人民決定終止1788年接受美國憲法的契約,南卡羅來納州跟聯邦之間的關系正式結束。

The committee offered the resolution to the convention on December twentieth, eighteen sixty. There was no debate. The delegates voted immediately. No one voted against it.

特別委員會1860年12月20號向大會提交了這份決議案,大會代表沒有舉行任何辯論,立即投票表決,結果一致通過。

VOICE ONE:

South Carolina had seceded. But what must it do now. There was the problem of property in South Carolina owned by the federal government. The convention continued to meet to work out details of South Carolina's new position in the world.

南卡羅來納州雖然退出了聯邦,但是當地屬于聯邦政府的財產要如何處理,南卡羅來納州如今又是一個什么樣的身份?

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. 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 #93 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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作者:Alumni
the secession had had an earlier foundation in southern states. but the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln made it get to its climax. it proved Lincon's immanse power which the southern satates had already felt.
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