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#19: Early Leaders Debate Presidential Powers

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ANNOUNCER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. Today, Gordon Gaippe and Richard Rael continue the story of the United States Constitution.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Edmund Randolph's speech introducing the Virginia Plan at the convention
Edmund Randolph's speech introducing the Virginia Plan at the convention

Last week, we told how the convention heard details of the Virginia Plan. That was a fifteen-part plan of government prepared by James Madison and other delegates from the state of Virginia.

上次我们谈到在费城制宪大会上,维吉尼亚州的代表们提出了一个十五点计划,专门讨论美国的政府体制。

The plan described a national government with a supreme legislature, executive and judiciary. The convention debated the meaning of the words "national" and "supreme." Some delegates feared that such a central government would take away power from the states. But in the end, they approved the proposal.

这项计划呼吁建立一个国家政府,最高立法、行政和司法机构三权分立。大会代表对“国家”和“最高”等词汇的意思展开了激烈辩论,有些代表担心,强大的中央政府会削弱各州的权力,但是最后,建立国家政府的提案还是获得了批准。

On June first, they began debate on the issue of a national executive.

代表们从6月1号开始讨论国家行政首脑的议题。

VOICE ONE:

The Virginia Plan offered several points for discussion. It said the national executive should be chosen by the national legislature. The executive's job would be to carry out the laws made by the legislature. He would serve a number of years. He would be paid a small amount of money.

维吉尼亚州提出的计划认为,美国的行政首脑应该由国家立法机构来挑选,其职责是落实立法机构通过的法律,任期若干年,领取少量酬劳。

These points served as a basis for debate. Over a period of several weeks, the delegates worked out details of the executive's position and powers.

上述几点奠定了辩论的基础。代表们在接下来的几个星期里,确定了国家行政首脑的具体权力和职能。

VOICE TWO:

It seemed every delegate at the Philadelphia convention had something to say about the issue of a national executive. They had been thinking about it for some time.

在国家行政首脑的问题上,参加费城制宪大会的每一位代表好像都有话要说。很显然,他们对这个问题已经思考很久了。

Almost every delegate was afraid to give the position extended powers. Almost no one wanted America's chief executive to become as powerful as a king. Still, many of the delegates had faith in the idea of a one-man executive. Others demanded an executive of three men.

几乎所有人都不愿意看到一个新的君主出现。虽然很多人对一人执政充满信心,但另外一些人则坚持要求三人执政。

James Wilson of Pennsylvania argued for the one-man executive. He said the position required energy and the ability to make decisions quickly. He said these would best be found in one man.

宾夕法尼亚的詹姆斯·威尔逊主张一人执政,理由是,美国的国家领导人需要精力过人,而且要有迅速决策的能力,因此最好由一个人来担任。

Edmund Randolph of Virginia disagreed strongly. He said he considered a one-man executive as "the fetus of monarchy."

维吉尼亚州州长埃德蒙·伦道夫强烈反对。他认为,一人执政是“君主制的胚胎”。

John Dickinson of Delaware said he did not denounce the idea of monarchy, of having a government headed by a king. He said it was one of the best governments in the world. However, in America, he said, a king was "out of the question."

德拉瓦州的约翰·迪金森表示,他并不排斥一个由国王领导的政府,王权统治是世界上最好的政治体制之一。但他同时指出,在美国,国王行不通。

The debate over the size of the national executive lasted a long time. Finally, the delegates voted. Seven state delegations voted for a one-man executive. Three voted against the idea.

围绕国家领袖的地位和职能的辩论进行了很长时间,与会代表最后投票表决,对于一人执政的提案,七个州支持,三个州反对。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

During the debate on size, other questions arose about the national executive. One question was the executive's term. Should he serve just once or could he be re-elected?

在讨论过程中,任期长短和是否允许连选连任的问题也被提了出来。

Alexander Hamilton argued for a long term of office. He said if a president served only a year or two, America soon would have many former presidents. These men, he said, would fight for power. And that would be bad for the peace of the nation.

亚历山大·汉密尔顿认为任期不能太短。他指出,如果总统任期只有一年或是两年的话,那么过不了多久,美国就会有很多位前总统。他们会争权夺利,不利于国家和平。

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin argued for re-election. The people, he said, were the rulers of a republic. And presidents were the servants of the people. If the people wanted to elect the same president again and again, they had the right to do this.

本杰明·富兰克林主张总统可以多次当选。他提出,人民是国家的统治者,总统是人民的公仆,人民有权利多次选择同一个人担任总统。

VOICE TWO:

Delegates debated two main proposals on the question. One was for a three-year term with re-election permitted. The other was for one seven-year term. The vote on the question was close. Five state delegations approved a term of seven years. Four voted no.

与会代表们还讨论了另外两个相关问题:一个是任期三年,可以重复当选;另外一个是任期七年,只有一届。投票表决的结果是,五个州的代表支持七年的一届任期,四个州的代表反对。

The question came up again during the convention and was debated again. In the final document, the president's term was set at four years with re-election permitted.

这个问题在制宪大会后来的辩论中又被提了出来,最后决定,总统任期四年,可以连选连任。

Next came the question of how to choose the national executive.

接下来自然是总统的产生。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

It was a most difficult problem. The delegates debated, voted, re-debated, and re-voted a number of proposals. James Wilson proposed that the executive be elected by special representatives of the people, called electors. The electors would be chosen from districts set up for this purpose.

这是最棘手的问题。与会代表们就此反复辩论和表决。詹姆斯·威尔逊提议,总统由人民的特别代表选举产生,这些代表叫做选举人,按地区分配。

Several delegates disagreed. They said the people did not know enough to choose good electors. They said the plan would be too difficult to carry out and would cost too much money.

有些代表反对这个提案,理由是,普通民众掌握的信息不足以让他们推举出优秀的选举人,因此这种制度很难推行,而且耗资巨大。

One delegate proposed that the national executive be elected by the state governors. He said the governors of large states would have more votes than the governors of small states. Nobody liked this proposal, especially delegates from the small states. It was defeated.

另外一名代表提议,总统由州长选举产生,人口越多,州长手里的选票就越多。没有人支持这项提议,特别是人口少的州。

VOICE TWO:

Another proposal was to have the national executive elected directly by the people. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts was shocked by this idea.

还有人提议,总统应该由人民直接选举产生。麻萨诸塞州的埃尔布里奇·格里听到这个提议后大惊失色。

"The people do not understand these things," he said. "A few dishonest men can easily fool the people. The worst way to choose a president would be to have him elected by the people."

他说,“人民哪搞得懂这种事情,少数不老实的人轻而易举地就能蒙蔽人民,由人民直接选举是选择总统的最糟糕的办法。”

So the delegates voted to have the national legislature appoint the national executive. Then they voted against this method. Instead, they said, let state legislatures name electors who would choose the executive. But the delegates changed their mind on this vote, too. They re-debated the idea of direct popular elections.

制宪大会代表最初投票决定由国会任命总统;然后又改变了主意,决定由州议会任命选举人,再由选举人推选总统;这一决议后来又被推翻。

The convention voted on the issue sixty times. In the end, it agreed that the national executive should be chosen by electors named by state legislatures.

会议代表就此议题先后投票六十次,最后还是决定,总统应该由州议会提名的选举人推选产生。

VOICE ONE:

Now, someone said, we have decided how to choose the executive. But what are we to do if the executive does bad things after being appointed? We should have some way of dismissing him.

有人提出,如果总统干了坏事,我们怎样才能罢免他呢?

Yes, the delegates agreed. It should be possible to impeach the executive, to try him, and if guilty, remove him from office. Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania spoke in support of impeachment. A national executive, he said, may be influenced by a greater power to betray his trust.

与会代表们觉得这个问题确实有道理,因此必须设置弹劾总统的程序,一旦认定总统有罪,就可以赶他下台。宾夕法尼亚州的州长格瓦诺·莫里斯主张设置弹劾机制,因为总统可能会受到更强大势力的影响,而背弃人民对他的信任。

The delegates approved a proposal for removing a chief executive found guilty of bribery, treason, or other high crimes.

与会代表因此批准了一项提案。提案规定,总统一旦被认定犯有行贿受贿、叛国或是其他重大罪行,就必须下台。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The last major question about the national executive was the question of veto power over the national legislature.

关于总统职能的最后一个重要问题就是对国会决定的否决权。

Not one delegate was willing to give the executive complete power to reject new laws. And yet they felt the executive should have some voice in the law-making process. If this were not done, they said, the position of executive would have little meaning. And the national legislature would have the power of a dictator.

与会代表们都不愿意让总统享有否决立法的终极权力,但是又觉得,总统应该在立法程序中有发言权,否则的话,总统一职就没什么意义了,而国会就有了独裁的权力。

James Madison
James Madison

James Madison offered a solution:

The executive should have the power to veto a law, Madison said. But his veto could be over-turned if most members of the legislature voted to pass the law again.

詹姆斯·麦迪逊提出了一个解决办法。他说,总统应该有权否决立法,但是如果国会大多数成员再次投票通过,国会就可以推翻总统的否决。

VOICE ONE:

The final convention document listed more details about the national executive, or president. For example, it said the president had to be born in the United States or a citizen at the time the Constitution was accepted. He must have lived in the United States for at least fourteen years. He must be at least thirty-five years old.

大会最后的文件中列举了总统一职更多的细节,比如说,美国总统必须在美国出生,或是宪法生效时已经是美国公民;美国总统必须在美国生活了至少十四年,年纪要在35岁以上。

The executive would be paid. But his pay could not be increased or reduced during his term in office. He would be commander-in-chief of the armed forces. And, from time to time, he would have to report to the national legislature on the state of the Union.

美国总统领取工资,但是工资数额在其任期内不得改变;美国总统是三军统帅;美国总统要定期向国会进行国情报告。

VOICE TWO:

The final document also gave the words by which a president would be sworn-in. Every four years -- for more than two hundred years now -- each president has repeated this oath of office:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

文件中还规定了美国总统宣誓就职的誓言。两百多年来,每隔四年,当选的总统就会郑重宣告--“我谨庄严宣誓,必忠实执行合众国总统职务,竭尽全力恪守、维护和捍卫合众国宪法。”

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Gordon Gaippe and Richard Rael. Join us again next week as we continue the story of the Constitution on THE MAKING OF A NATION in VOA Special English. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our American history series, go to www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(4条):
作者:流樱豪
keep studying
作者:xuding45
In Virginar the delegates had talked about the presidental‘ power again and again。And also the president and congress shared power 。
作者:资文杰
the best management rules
作者:hliu
I see some creative minds at the Philadelphia convetion. The people do not understand these things. A few dishonest people can easily fool the people. The executive should be elected by electors. What if these electors become dishonest or influenced by a great power?
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