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#25: The Constitution Goes to the States for Approval

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ANNOUNCER:

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

In recent weeks, we told the story of how the United States Constitution was written. In seventeen eighty-seven, a group of delegates gathered for a convention in Philadelphia. Their plan was to rewrite the Articles of Confederation. Those articles created a weak union of the thirteen states.

Instead of rewriting the articles, however, they spent that summer writing a completely new plan of government. On September seventeenth, after four months of often bitter debate, the delegates finally signed the new document. Now, they had to get at least nine of the thirteen states to approve it. Today, Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe tell the story of ratifying the Constitution.

在上次的建国史话中,我们讲到,1787年夏天,各州的代表在费城开会,计划改写将美国当时的十三个州联系在一起的《邦联条例》,但是结果,他们却另起炉灶,制定了一份全新的政府规划。1787年9月17号,经过四个月的激烈辩论,代表们终于在宪法上签了字。他们接下来的任务,就是要让13个州里的至少9个州批准这部宪法。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Delegates to the Philadelphia convention had met in secret. They wanted to be able to debate proposals, and change their minds, without worrying about public reaction. Now, they were free to speak openly. Each had a copy of the new Constitution.

费城制宪大会是秘密进行的,因为大会代表们希望能够自由地讨论提案、随时改变主张,而不必担心公众的反应。宪法签署后,他们终于可以畅所欲言了,每个人手里都有一份宪法的文本。

Newspapers also got copies. They printed every word. Public reaction was great indeed. Arguments 'for' and 'against' were the same as those voiced by delegates to the convention:

The Constitution would save the United States! The Constitution would create a dictator!

各大报社也得到了宪法的副本,他们一字不差地发表出来,引起了公众的强烈反响。普通百姓跟大会代表一样,分为支持和反对两大阵营。支持者说,这部宪法能拯救美国。反对者说,这部宪法会创造独裁。

VOICE ONE:

The Federalist Papers were a series of 85 essays published in newspapers in 1787 and 1788. They were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to urge citizens of New York to approve the Constitution.
The Federalist Papers were a series of 85 essays published in newspapers in 1787 and 1788. They were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to urge citizens of New York to approve the Constitution.

The leaders who supported the new Constitution understood quickly that to win ratification, they must speak out. So, just a few weeks after the document was signed, they began writing statements supporting the proposed Constitution.

支持新宪法的领导人物知道,如果想让宪法获得通过,他们就必须站出来说话。因此,制宪大会的代表们在宪法上签字的短短几周后,一些支持宪法的与会代表们就开始发表声明。

Their statements appeared first in newspapers in New York. They were called the Federalist Papers. They were printed under the name of 'Publius'. But they were really written by three men: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.

他们的声明最早出现在纽约的报纸上,这些声明被统称做联邦主义者文集。文章署名 Publius, 但实际上,撰稿人有三个,他们分别是:亚历山大·汉密尔顿、詹姆斯·麦迪逊和约翰·杰伊。

Years later, historians said the Federalist Papers were the greatest explanation of the Constitution ever written. But in seventeen eighty-seven, they had little effect on public opinion.

很多年后,历史学家说,联邦主义者文集是对美国宪法最好的解释,但是1787年的时候,这些文章并没有对公众舆论产生多大的影响。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The debate over the Constitution divided Americans into two groups. Those who supported it were known as Federalists. Those who opposed it were known as anti-Federalists.

围绕宪法的辩论将美国民众分成了两大阵营,支持者被称为联邦主义者,反对者被称为反联邦主义者。

The anti-Federalists were not anti-American. They were important leaders who loved their country. They were governors, heroes of the Revolutionary War, and even a future president. Yet they distrusted the idea of a strong central government.

反联邦主义者并不反对美国,他们都是非常爱国的领导人物,但是他们认为,建立一个强有力的中央政府不是个好主意。

Give too much power to the president, the Congress and the courts, they said, and citizens would no longer be free. They would lose the liberties gained in the war for independence from Britain.

他们指出,如果让总统、国会和法院享有太多的权力,那人民就丧失了自由,会失去独立战争中争取到的自由。

VOICE ONE:

Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry

One anti-Federalist was Patrick Henry of Virginia. James Madison called him the most dangerous enemy of the Constitution.

维吉尼亚州的帕特里克·亨利是反联邦主义者的代表人物之一。詹姆斯·麦迪逊称他是宪法最危险的敌人。

Patrick Henry and other anti-Federalists tried to create distrust and fear about the new plan of government. Farmers against city people. North against South. Small states against big states.

帕特里克·亨利和其他反联邦主义者试图制造对新政府体系的不信任和恐惧,让务农者和城市人、让北方和南方、让人口少的小州和人口多的大州之间形成对立。

An anti-Federalist newspaper in Philadelphia carried this commentary: "Citizens! You are lucky to live in Pennsylvania, where we have the best government in the world. Do not let this government be destroyed by the new Constitution. Do not let a few men -- men with great names -- seize control of your lives."

当时费城的一份反联邦主义者的报纸曾发表了一篇评论文章。文章说,“公民们!你们能住在宾夕法尼亚州,简直是太幸运了,因为这里有世界上最好的政府。不要让新宪法把我们的政府摧毁掉,不要让几个人,几个声名显赫的人控制了你们的生活。

One Federalist noted that it was easier to frighten the people than to teach them.

”一名联邦主义者曾指出,恐吓人民要比教育人民容易得多。

VOICE TWO:

There were both Federalists and anti-Federalists in the Continental Congress. The Congress had few powers. But it was the only central government the thirteen states had at that time. It met in New York City.

大陆会议里既有联邦主义者,也有反联邦主义者。大陆会议虽然权力有限,但它却是当时13个州唯一认可的中央政府。大陆会议在纽约市开会。

The convention in Philadelphia had sent the Continental Congress a copy of the new Constitution. Within eight days, the Congress agreed that each state should organize a convention to discuss ratification. One by one, the states held their conventions.

费城制宪大会向大陆会议提交了一份宪法草案,短短八天后,大陆会议就决定,由每个州分别召开宪法会议,讨论是否批准这部宪法。

VOICE ONE:

Delaware was the first state to ratify, early in December, seventeen eighty-seven. All the delegates voted to approve it. Pennsylvania was the next to ratify, also in December.

德拉华州率先于1787年12月初批准了宪法,所有代表都投票赞成。宾夕法尼亚州紧随其后,也于12月批准了新宪法。

New Jersey ratified the Constitution in December, followed by Georgia and Connecticut in January. That made five states. The Federalists needed just four more to win ratification.

接下来是新泽西州,同样是在12月份。再后来是乔治亚州和康涅迪克州,它们于次年元月批准了宪法。至此,共有五个州批准了宪法,离宪法成为法律需要的九个州还差四个。

Massachusetts voted in early February. Delegates to the state convention wanted the Constitution amended to include guarantees to protect citizens' rights. They agreed to ratify if these guarantees were added later.

麻萨诸塞州的代表们2月初投票表决。他们认为,宪法需要补充修正案,保证公民的权利。与会代表一致决定,增加这些修正案后,就会批准宪法。

VOICE TWO:

Maryland ratified the Constitution at the end of April. There, a number of delegates included a letter of protest with their vote. They said if the proposed plan of government were not amended, the liberty and happiness of the people would be threatened.

马里兰州4月底批准了新宪法。马里兰州的一些代表投票时附加了一封抗议信。他们在信中说,如果现版的政府规划不进行修正,人民的自由和幸福就会受到威胁。

South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify, at the end of May. Just one more state and the new Constitution would become the law of the land. All eyes turned to Virginia.

接下来,南卡罗来纳州5月底成为批准新宪法的第八个州,这就是说,再有一个州,宪法就能生效,大家的目光都在注视着维吉尼亚。

In this letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington thanks Hamilton for sending a copy of the Federalist Papers written by
In this letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington thanks Hamilton for sending a copy of the Federalist Papers written by "Publius"

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Virginia was the biggest of the thirteen states. At that time, its western border stretched all the way to the Mississippi River. One-fifth of all the people in America lived in Virginia. The men who attended the ratifying convention were among the most famous names in the nation: James Madison, Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Monroe, Edmund Randolph and John Marshall.

维吉尼亚州是13个州里最大的一个州。当时,维吉尼亚州的西部边界一直延伸到密西西比河畔,人口占美国总人口的五分之一。参加宪法批准大会的很多人都是当时的著名人物,包括詹姆斯·麦迪逊、帕克里克·亨利、乔治·梅森、詹姆斯·门罗、埃德蒙·伦道夫和约翰·马歇尔。

Thomas Jefferson was still in Paris, serving as America's representative to France. But others kept him informed of everything that happened at home. Jefferson wrote back that he liked most of the Constitution. But, he said, I do not like the fact that it does not contain a declaration of the rights of citizens.

那个时候,托马斯·杰斐逊还是美国驻法国巴黎的外交使节,但他通过别人,关心着美国国内的事态发展。杰斐逊写信说,他对宪法的大部分内容都很欣赏,但是宪法没有宣示公民的权利,这一点他并不赞同。

The most famous Virginian, George Washington, stayed at his farm, Mount Vernon. All during the month of June, however, riders brought him messages from the convention and carried messages back.

维吉尼亚州最有名的人物乔治·华盛顿6月份一直待在自己的农场弗农山庄里,信使把会议消息带给他,再把他的信件带走。

VOICE TWO:

The Convention of the State of Virginia ratified the Constitution on June 25, 1788
The Convention of the State of Virginia ratified the Constitution on June 25, 1788

For three weeks, the Virginia delegates argued about the Constitution. By the end of June, they were ready to vote. Patrick Henry, the outspoken anti-Federalist, asked to make a last statement.

维吉尼亚州的代表们围绕宪法展开了3个星期的激烈辩论。到6月底的时候,他们已经做好了投票的准备。这时候,最敢说话的反联邦主义者帕特里克·亨利要求发表最后一次声明。

"If this convention approves the Constitution," Henry said, "I will feel that I fought for good reasons...and lost the fight. If this happens, I will wait and hope. I will hope that the spirit of the American Revolution is not lost. I will hope that this new plan of government is changed to protect the safety, the liberty, and the happiness of the American people."

亨利说,“如果大会批准了宪法,我会觉得,我据理力争,虽败犹荣。如果真是这样的话,那么我会等待和期盼,希望美国独立战争的精神不会丢失,希望新的政府体系能够出现变化,保护美国人民的安全、自由和幸福。”

Then the convention voted. Virginia approved the Constitution. However, like Massachusetts, it added that the document must include a declaration of rights for the nation's people.

维吉尼亚宪法大会随即开始投票,最后批准了宪法。不过,跟麻萨诸塞州一样,维吉尼亚州的代表们也要求在宪法中加上保护人民权利的修正案。

VOICE ONE:

Federalists in Virginia were proud. They thought their state was the ninth to ratify, the one that made the Constitution the law of the land. But they soon learned that New Hampshire had ratified a few days earlier. Virginia was number ten. That left three states: North Carolina, Rhode Island, and New York.

维吉尼亚州的联邦主义者非常自豪,因为他们是第九个批准宪法的州,在决定宪法是否能够成为法律的过程中起到了关键作用,但是没过多久,他们就发现,新罕布什尔州早在几天前就已经通过了宪法,使维吉尼亚州变成了批准宪法的第十个州。这样一来,只剩下北卡罗来纳州、罗德岛州和纽约州还没有做出决定了。

In a way, New York was the most important of all. If New York refused to join the union under the Constitution, it would be almost impossible for a central government to rule the nation. The twelve other states would be divided in two, geographically separated by New York state.

在某种意义上,纽约州是美国最重要的一个州。如果纽约拒绝加入联邦的话,那么中央政府几乎不可能统领整个国家,因为从地理上看,纽约州位于南北两端的中心地带,将国家一分为二。

VOICE TWO:

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

The Federalists were led by Alexander Hamilton. They used their right to filibuster -- to make many long speeches -- to delay the vote. They wanted to wait to hear what Virginia would do. Early in July, they got the news. But New York's anti-Federalists kept up the fight for three more weeks.

纽约州以亚历山大·汉密尔顿为首的联邦主义者通过冗长的演讲拖延时间,等待维吉尼亚州的动态。7月初,终于传来了维吉尼亚大会批准宪法的消息,但是纽约州的反联邦主义者还是不肯放弃,又坚持了三个星期。

It was not until the end of July that New York finally ratified the Constitution. The vote was extremely close: thirty to twenty-seven. Like Massachusetts and Virginia, New York demanded a declaration of rights.

因此,纽约州直到7月底才以微弱多数批准宪法,投票结果是30票赞成,27票反对。纽约州跟麻萨诸塞州和维吉尼亚州一样,也要求补充保护公民权利的修正法案。

VOICE ONE:

The long struggle to give the United States a strong central government was over. It took four months to write a new Constitution. It took ten months to ratify it.

在美国建立一个强大的中央政府的努力终于结束了,草拟宪法花了四个月的时间,宪法的批准又花了十个月。

The Continental Congress declared that the Constitution would become effective the first Wednesday in March, seventeen eighty-nine. The last two states -- North Carolina and Rhode Island -- did not ratify it until many months after that date.

大陆会议最后宣布,宪法定于1789年3月份的第一个星期三正式生效,北卡罗来纳州和罗德岛州直到宪法真正成为法律之后的好几个月才正式批准宪法。

Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania, who had signed the Declaration of Independence, wrote down eight words when he heard that the Constitution had been ratified. "It is done," he said, "we have become a nation."

曾在美国独立宣言上签过字的宾夕法尼亚州的本杰明.拉什得知宪法被批准的消息后写下了八个字。"It is done. We have become a nation." ---意思是:大功告成,我们成为一个国家。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

网友的学习评论(5条):
作者:xuding45
Though delegates in Philadelphia approved this constitution, people in many states had a large differences. There was a long difficult road to approve the new constitution.
作者:Alumni
“The Constitution would save the United States!”really the Constitution have saved the United States!and i have successfully registered here as a member today.
作者:jackie-liu
why they did wait the last states to ratify the constitution,the federalists who wanna a central goverment look like only take care of feeling of big States .
作者:郑烈波
it is done.we have become a nation
作者:hliu
It's important to let everyone's voice heared. It based on the rights to talk, to assemble, and to press. Delegates of the convention in Philadelphia put their eyes on goverment, whereas citizens on their basic human rights.
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