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#23: Debating Slaves' Part in Representation of States

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ANNOUNCER:

This map of Philadelpia, drawn in 1777, shows streams, roads and the names of landowners. Independence Hall, home of the federal convention of 1787, is shown at the bottom.
This map of Philadelpia, drawn in 1777, shows streams, roads and the names of landowners. Independence Hall, home of the federal convention of 1787, is shown at the bottom.

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

In May of seventeen eighty-seven, a group of the nation's early leaders opened a convention in Philadelphia. They planned to change the Articles of Confederation, which created a weak union of the thirteen states. Instead, they wrote a new document.

This week in our series, we continue the story of the United States Constitution. Here are Frank Oliver and Tony Riggs.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Last week, we told how the convention finally agreed on how states would be represented in the national government.

上次我们谈到,费城制宪大会的代表们终于在国会代表权的问题上达成了妥协。

There would be two houses in the national legislature. In one house -- the House of Representatives -- the number of representatives from each state would depend on the state's population. In the other house -- the Senate -- all states would have an equal number of representatives.

大会决定,美国国会由参、众两院组成。众议院来自各州的议员人数根据各州人口数量决定。参议院的议员人数各州相同,跟人口无关。

The agreement on representation was known as the "Great Compromise." Not all the delegates in Philadelphia were pleased with it. But it saved the convention from failure.

这一妥协方案虽然没有让费城制宪大会的所有代表都感到满意,但却使制宪大会避免了失败。

VOICE ONE:

The debate on representation in the House raised an important issue. No one wanted to talk about it. But all the delegates knew they must discuss it. The issue was slavery. If representation was based on population, who would you count? Would you count just free people? Or would you count Negro slaves, too?

有关众议院议员人数的辩论,涉及到另外一个重要的问题。虽然没有人愿意触及这个问题,但是大家都知道,这个问题是无法回避的,这就是奴隶的问题。如果各州众议员的人数由人口决定,那么在清点人口的时候,要不要把黑奴包括进去呢?

There were thousands of slaves in the United States in seventeen eighty-seven. Most lived in southern states. But many could be found in the north, too. And northern ship owners made a lot of money by importing slaves from Africa.

1787年的时候,美国有成千上万的黑奴,他们大都居住在南方地区,但是北方也有。北方的船主们从非洲进口奴隶,以此发了大财。

VOICE TWO:

The Articles of Confederation said nothing about slavery. Each state could decide to permit it or not. Massachusetts, for example, had made slavery illegal. Nine other states had stopped importing new slaves. Only three states -- Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina -- continued to import slaves.

《邦联条例》中没有涉及奴隶问题,由各州自己决定是否允许奴隶制度的存在。比如说麻萨诸塞州就规定,奴隶制是非法的。当时,另外的九个州也停止了奴隶进口。只有乔治亚、北卡罗来纳和南卡罗来纳三个州还在继续进口奴隶。

Isaac Jefferson was one of about 600 slaves owned by Thomas Jefferson during his lifetime
Isaac Jefferson was one of about 600 slaves owned by Thomas Jefferson during his lifetime

The issue was never easy to discuss. Some of the most important men in America owned slaves. They included George Washington and James Madison.

奴隶问题是一个非常棘手的问题。美国历史上很多重要人物都是奴隶主,其中就包括乔治·华盛顿和詹姆斯·麦迪逊。

No one wanted to insult these men. Yet the convention had to make some decisions about slavery. Slavery affected laws on trade and taxes, as well as the question of representation in Congress.

没有人愿意冒犯这些人,但是制宪大会又必须在奴隶问题上做出决定。奴隶制对美国的贸易法、税法、乃至国会的代表权,都有影响。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

During the debate, some delegates argued that slaves were property. They could not be counted for purposes of representation. Others argued that slaves were people and should be counted with everyone else.

在辩论中,一些代表认为,奴隶是个人财产,所以在决定各州的议员人数时,不必被计算在人口当中;另外一些代表则表示,奴隶也是人,应该跟其它人一样,被计算在内。

Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania made an angry speech. "Slavery," he declared, "is an evil institution. It has caused great sadness and poverty in all the states where it is permitted."

宾夕法尼亚州的格瓦诺·莫里斯发表了愤怒的演讲。他宣称,“奴隶制是一种邪恶的制度,给所有允许奴隶制存在的州带来了巨大的悲哀和贫困。”

Charles Pinckney of South Carolina defended the existence of slavery in the United States. "In all ages," he said, "one half of mankind have been slaves."

南卡罗来纳州的查尔斯·平克尼则为奴隶制的存在进行辩护。他说,“有史以来,从来都是有一半人充当奴隶。”

George Mason of Virginia, a slave owner, wanted to free all slaves. He said Virginia attempted to do this when it was a British colony. But he said the British government blocked Virginia's attempts. Mason blamed the problem on British businessmen who made money from slavery.

维吉尼亚州的乔治·梅森虽然自己是奴隶主,但他却希望解放所有奴隶。他说,还是英属殖民地的时候,维吉尼亚州就想给奴隶自由,但是受到了英国政府的阻扰,他认为,问题出在靠奴隶制赚了大钱的英国商人身上。

VOICE TWO:

In states where slaves were considered as persons before the law, they sued for, and sometimes won, their freedom in the courts. Elizabeth Freeman was freed in Massachusetts in 1781.
In states where slaves were considered as persons before the law, they sued for, and sometimes won, their freedom in the courts. Elizabeth Freeman was freed in Massachusetts in 1781.

Other delegates rose to denounce or defend slavery. But the convention had no power to rule on whether slavery was right or wrong.

其它代表也纷纷发言,对奴隶制度提出谴责或是辩护,但是制宪大会没有权力裁定奴隶制度是对是错。

Everyone knew the convention would fail if it tried to write a Constitution that banned slavery. The southern states would never accept such a document. They would refuse to join the United States.

每个人都知道,如果把禁止奴隶制写进宪法,制宪大会必将以失败告终。南部各州绝对不会接受,他们会拒绝加入美国。

Rufus King of Massachusetts said the convention should consider slavery only as a political matter. And that is what happened. The convention accepted several political compromises on the issue.

麻萨诸塞州的鲁弗斯·金说,制宪大会应该按照政治事务来处理奴隶制的问题,大会结果采纳了他的意见。制宪大会的代表们决定按照政治事务来处理奴隶制的问题,并且在这个问题上达成了不少妥协。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

James Wilson of Pennsylvania, for example, proposed a method of counting each state's population for purposes of representation. All white persons and other free citizens would be counted as one each. Every five slaves would be counted only as three persons. This was called the 'three-fifths' rule. The delegates accepted it.

比如说,宾夕法尼亚州的詹姆斯·威尔逊建议,在统计各州人口的时候,所有的白人和其他自由人都按照一个人来计算,但是每五个黑奴算做三个人,被称为“五分之三”的规则。这一建议得到了制宪大会的接受。

The word 'slave' was never used in the Constitution. It simply used the words 'all other persons.' The 'three-fifths rule' remained law until the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed in eighteen sixty-eight.

美国宪法里找不到“奴隶”一词,凡是提到奴隶的时候,就说“其他人等”。“五分之三”规则直到1868年第14项宪法修正案成为法律后才失效。

Alexander Hamilton said the three-fifths compromise was necessary. "Without it," he said, "no union could possibly have been formed."

亚历山大·汉密尔顿说,制宪大会围绕“五分之三”规则达成的妥协是十分必要的,没有它,美国就不可能形成联盟。

VOICE TWO:

Map of West Africa during the 18th century slave trade
Map of West Africa during the 18th century slave trade

Slavery also became an issue when the convention began discussing the powers of the national legislature. Once again, the question was asked: Are slaves people? Or are they property? The answer would affect import taxes and the growth of new states.

制宪大会讨论国会权力的时候,也遇到了奴隶制的问题。奴隶是人还是财产,这个问题的答案关系到进口税和新的州的发展。

The convention accepted several compromises on these questions, too. It agreed that the national treasury could collect a tax of ten dollars for every imported slave. It also agreed that slaves could be imported until the year eighteen-oh-eight. Then no new slaves could be brought into the country.

制宪大会经过讨论,最后达成妥协,财政部可以对每个进口的奴隶征收十美元的税,并把1808年定为进口奴隶的最后期限。

Until then, each state had the power to make its own decisions about slavery. After eighteen-oh-eight, the national government would make all decisions.

在此之前,各州有权自行决定奴隶的问题,1808年后,决定权就要收归联邦政府。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

As debate on a new Constitution continued through the summer of seventeen eighty-seven, several delegates asked an important question. Who would approve, or ratify, it?

1787年夏天费城制宪大会的代表们围绕新宪法展开辩论的过程中,有人提出一个问题:这部宪法最后应该由谁来批准?

The state legislatures? The people? Or, as Gouverneur Morris proposed, one big national convention? As always, Elbridge Gerry opposed giving this power to the people. "The people," he said, "have the wildest ideas of government in the world."

是州议会、是人民,还是象格瓦诺·莫里斯建议的,由一个全民大会批准呢?这时候,埃尔布里奇·格里再次站出来,反对将权力交给人民。他说,“普通人对政府的概念是世界上最荒诞的。”

VOICE TWO:

James Madison disagreed. He believed the people must ratify their new plan of government. Madison said, "I consider the difference between a system founded on the legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a treaty and a constitution."

詹姆斯·麦迪逊针锋相对,提出了不同的看法。他认为,新政府的规划必须得到人民的批准。他说,“我认为,一个由议会批准的政府跟一个由人民批准的政府之间的根本区别是一项协定和一部宪法之间的区别。”

Edmund Randolph of Virginia proposed that state conventions should consider the document prepared by the Philadelphia convention. They could offer amendments, he said. And then another general convention would decide on a final document.

维吉尼亚州的埃德蒙·伦道夫建议,各州开会审议费城大会拟定的宪法草案,可以提出修正意见,最后再由一个全体大会定夺。

VOICE ONE:

Gouverneur Morris agreed, but for another reason. He said, "I have long wished for another convention that would have the firmness to provide a strong central government...which we are afraid to do."

格瓦诺·莫里斯表示赞同,但是出于另外一个原因。他说,“我一直希望能召集一个大会,这个大会的代表们有决心去建立一个我们不敢建立的强大的中央政府。”

James Madison hated the idea. Calling another general convention would mean the Philadelphia convention had failed. It would mean the end of all his hard work and hopes. When the debate was over, the delegates agreed that the people should ratify the new Constitution through conventions held in each state.

詹姆斯·麦迪逊则痛恨这种主张,因为再次召集会议就意味着费城制宪大会的失败,意味着他的艰苦努力和希望将化为泡影。与会代表最后决定,新宪法应该通过各州召集的大会,由人民来批准。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Finally, the delegates had to decide how many 'yes' votes by states would be needed to ratify the Constitution.

大会代表们最后还要决定宪法生效需要多少个州的同意。

Any changes to the Articles of Confederation needed ratification by all thirteen states. The Philadelphia convention was called only to change those Articles. So all thirteen would have to approve. This, as several delegates noted, would be impossible. After all, Rhode Island never sent a representative to Philadelphia. It was sure to reject the Constitution.

大家都记得,召开费城大会的初衷是要修改《邦联条例》,根据规定,修改《邦联条例》需要13个州的批准,按理说,新宪法也应该得到13个州的批准才能生效。然而,有些代表提出,这是不可能的,因为罗德岛根本没派代表前来开会,当然不会投票赞成新宪法。

Also, as everyone knew, the Philadelphia convention went far past the point of changing the Articles of Confederation. The delegates wrote a completely new plan of government. They could agree to accept ratification by fewer than thirteen states.

此外,大家都知道,费城大会并不是对《邦联条例》进行了修改,而是重新拟定了一个新的政府规划。因此他们有权决定,宪法无须13个州的同意。

VOICE ONE:

Delegates who supported a strong central government acted quickly. They raised the question of numbers. How many states were needed to ratify? By the end of the day, the convention had not decided. But many of the delegates must have met that night. Early the next day, the convention voted. And the number it agreed on was nine.

主张建立强大中央政府的代表们迅速采取行动,提出了需要多少个州的同意,才能让宪法生效的问题。代表们当天没能做出决定,但是很多代表那天晚上肯定是再次碰了头,因为第二天大会投票,最后决定,只要九个州同意,宪法就可以宣布生效。

The great convention in Philadelphia was nearing the end of its work. It needed only to write out its agreements in final form and sign the document. That will be our story next week.

费城的制宪大会到此已经接近尾声,剩下的唯一工作就是要撰写并签署宪法落实成文字,然后加以签署。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson and narrated by Frank Oliver and Tony Riggs. Join us next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION as we finish the story of the United States Constitution. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our series are at www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(4条):
作者:xuding45
In this part, many representations would talk about slaves. Some people thought that slaves should be regnized to poverty and others thought not. At final they had a compromise which could be decided by different states
作者:Stella
America is not easyb
作者:郑烈波
the great convention in philadelphia was nearing the end of its work.it needed only to write out its agreements in final form and sign the document.
作者:hliu
A perfect plan that pleases every side is always less possible. Compromise is needed. Or we could not move on. I am wondering why delegates at Penesylvania convention are told so shortly, they could have had certain powers.
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