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#33: Adams Avoids War With France, Signs Alien and Sedition Acts

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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English. This week on our program, we continue the story of America's second president, John Adams. Here are Maurice Joyce and Richard Rael.

VOICE TWO:

John Adams, by the American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931)
John Adams, by the American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931)

John Adams took office in seventeen ninety-seven. He had served eight years as vice president under President George Washington. Now, state electors had chosen him to govern the new nation.

在上次的建国史话中,我们讲到,美国第二任总统约翰.亚当斯1797年宣誓就职。

Adams was an intelligent man. He was a true patriot and an able diplomat. But he did not like party politics. This weakness caused trouble during his presidency. For, during the late seventeen hundreds, two political parties struggled for power. He was caught in the middle.

亚当斯才智过人、热爱国家、而且是一位出色的外交官。不过,他并不热衷于政党政治,这一弱点给他带来了很多麻烦,因为十八世纪末期,美国联邦、共和两党争权夺利,把亚当斯夹在了中间。

VOICE ONE:

Adams was a member of the Federalist Party. As president, he should have been party leader. But this position belonged to a man who really knew how to get and use political power, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton served as treasury secretary under President Washington.

亚当斯是联邦党成员。作为总统,联邦党领袖的位置本来非他莫数。然而,这个位置却被亚历山大.汉密尔顿牢牢地掌握在手中。乔治.华盛顿任期内,汉密尔顿曾经担任财政部长,在谋求和施展政治权力方面,可谓登峰造极。

Now, he was a private citizen, a lawyer in New York City. Through the Federalist Party, Hamilton continued to have great influence over the national government. Federalists loyal to Hamilton controlled the Congress. Even President Adams' three cabinet ministers were loyal to Hamilton. In fact, they worked together against the new president.

如今,汉密尔顿虽然已经退出政界,在纽约开办了律师事务所,但他继续通过联邦党的力量,对政府施加影响。效忠汉密尔顿的联邦党人控制着当时的国会,就连亚当斯总统手下的三位内阁部长,私下里也都听命于汉密尔顿,跟新总统作对。

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

This political situation made Adams' term in office very difficult. Yet strangely, it also led to the end of Federalist Party power.

这种情况给亚当斯带来了不少麻烦,但奇怪的是,最后竟然也将联邦党送入了坟墓。

VOICE TWO:

Two major issues marked Adams' presidency. One concerned foreign policy. The other concerned the rights of citizens.

亚当斯任期内的两个主要问题一个是外交,一个是民权。

The first involved America's relations with France.

外交涉及美国跟法国的关系。

Federalists, in general, were men of wealth and position. They did not believe in democracy, rule by the people. For this reason, they strongly opposed the revolution in France. They were horrified by the execution of the French king and queen. Federalists wanted an alliance with Britain. Over time, they demanded war with France.

总的来说,联邦党人都是有权有势的人,他们不相信民主,不相信人民统治。出于这个原因,联邦党人极力反对法国大革命,法国国王和王后被杀,让他们深感震惊。联邦党人主张跟英国结盟,后来还要求对法国宣战。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

American support for France came from the opposition party, the Republicans. The leader of that party was the country's vice president, Thomas Jefferson.

然而,由美国副总统托马斯.杰斐逊领导的共和党支持法国大革命。

France helped America win its war for independence from Britain. The friendship formed during the war continued afterward when Thomas Jefferson served as Minister to Paris. Relations began to turn bad as soon as he returned home.

The man who replaced him openly supported the French monarchy -- the losing side in the revolution. After the revolution succeeded, the new French government demanded that he leave.

VOICE TWO:

Most Federalists did not want good relations with France. They used their power to prevent the government from sending a pro-French representative to Paris. They also searched for any signs of insult, any excuse to declare war.

大多数联邦党人都不希望跟法国保持友好关系,他们想方设法防止政府向巴黎派遣亲法使节,他们还四处捕捉法国冒犯美国的迹象,为宣战寻找借口。

President Adams did not agree with the majority of Federalists. He wanted to improve relations with France through negotiations. Yet he said the United States would strengthen its defenses. We will be ready, he said, if war comes.

亚当斯总统不同意联邦党的主流意见。他希望通过谈判改善跟法国的关系,但是亚当斯同时也在努力加强国防。按他的话说就是,一旦战争爆发,我们随时准备应战。

VOICE ONE:

One incident, especially, brought the two nations close to war. It is known in American history books as the "X, Y and Z Affair."

美国历史教科书上所谓的“X、Y、Z事件”,使美国和法国走向了战争的边缘。

President Adams had appointed a committee of three ministers to negotiate with the French government. French officials kept these three men waiting for several weeks. While they waited, they had a visit from three Frenchmen -- later called X, Y and Z.

亚当斯总统当时任命了一个由三位部长组成的代表小组,跟法国政府交涉。法国官员让这三个人等了好几个星期。在此期间,三个法国人前来拜访,告诉美国代表说,如果美国答应三个条件,就跟美国签协议。这三个法国人后来被称为X、Y和Z。

X, Y and Z told the Americans that France would sign an agreement if the United States did three things.

法国提出的三个条件是:

It had to lend the French government twelve million dollars. It had to apologize for anti-French statements in a recent message from President Adams to the American Congress. And it had to pay the French foreign minister two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

一,美国要借给法国政府一千两百万美元;二,美国必须就亚当斯总统最近对美国国会讲话中的反法言论道歉;三,美国要向法国外交部长支付25万美元。

VOICE TWO:

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

The American ministers were willing to pay. But they wanted to sign the agreement first. The French foreign minister refused. First the money, then the agreement.

美国的三位部长表示,出钱可以,但是要先签协议,结果遭到了法国外交部长的拒绝。法国坚持,只有先付钱,才能签协议。

The Federalists finally had the excuse they were looking for. France had insulted the United States. We must answer the insult. The only answer was war. Federalist newspapers added fuel to the fire by publishing anti-French propaganda. In a few places, pro-war groups became violent.

联邦党人终于找到了借口。他们指出,这是法国对我们的侮辱,我们绝不能示弱,唯一的回答就是宣战。联邦党人的报纸也煽风点火,进行反法宣传,有些地方的主战团体甚至爆发了暴力行动。

The Republican Party could do little. Even Thomas Jefferson was helpless. He remained in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States at that time. But he had few friends there anymore.

对此,共和党人无能为力,就连副总统杰斐逊也爱莫能助。他继续留在当时的首都费城,但是没有多少朋友。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Congress quickly passed laws to create a permanent army and navy. It also approved new taxes to pay for them.

美国和法国之间的战火一触即发。美国国会迅速通过立法,建立永久性陆军和海军,并增加税收,补充军费,用于陆海两军的组建和培训。

Two new laws passed by a small vote. But they greatly increased the powers of the national government. The laws were known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. Federalists said they were necessary to protect national security. But, in effect, the Federalists used them to weaken the power of the Republican Party.

国会还以微弱多数通过了另外两项立法--《外国人法》和《惩治叛乱法》。这两项立法极大地增加了联邦政府的权力。联邦党人说,这两项立法对于保护国家安全十分必要,但事实上,联邦党人是为了借此削弱共和党人的力量。

VOICE TWO:

The Alien and Sedition Acts tightened restrictions on foreigners and limited speech critical of government. Both measures were passed in preparation for a possible war with France.
The Alien and Sedition Acts tightened restrictions on foreigners and limited speech critical of government. Both measures were passed in preparation for a possible war with France.

Under the Alien Act, the president could accuse any foreigner living in the United States of being a threat to national security. He could order that person out of the country.

根据《外国人法》,美国总统可以指责在美国居住的任何外国人危害美国国家安全,并勒令此人出境。

The act also increased the time a foreigner had to wait to become a citizen, from five years to fourteen years.

法案还将外国人入籍归化的时间从五年延长到十四年。

Republicans were furious. Most foreigners, when they became naturalized citizens, joined the Republican Party.

这种做法让共和党人感到气愤,因为大多数外国人入籍后,都会加入共和党。

Republicans argued that the Alien Act violated the Constitution. They said it gave the government more powers than were stated in the Constitution. Federalists said the act was Constitutional. They said the Constitution gave the government the right to defend the country against foreign aggression.

共和党人认为,《外国人法》违反了美国宪法,使联邦政府的权限超过了宪法规定的范畴。但是联邦党人却认为,《外国人法》并没有违宪,因为宪法赋予联邦政府保护国家不受外来侵略的权力。

VOICE ONE:

The other law, the Sedition Act, barred the publication of anything that might incite public hostility against the government.

另外一项立法《惩治叛乱法》禁止任何煽动公众对政府敌对情绪的出版物。

Republicans argued that this act violated Americans' Constitutional rights of free speech and a free press. Federalists, once again, defended it as necessary for national security.

共和党人指出,此法违反了美国宪法规定的言论自由和媒体自由,但是联邦党人再次强调,这样做是出于捍卫国家安全。

The Federalists tried to use the Sedition Act to quiet Republican critics of President Adams' administration. About twenty-five persons were charged under the Sedition act. These included several leading Republican newspapermen and a Republican member of Congress.

联邦党人试图利用《惩治叛乱法》,压制对亚当斯政府的批判。包括几位共和党媒体人和一名共和党议员在内的大约25个人根据《惩治叛乱法》受到指控。

Some of the men were tried and found guilty and sent to prison. But other Republicans took their places in the fight against the act. The Federalist plan to stop criticism did not succeed.

有些人被认定有罪,投入大牢,另外一些共和党人前赴后继,继续跟《惩治叛乱法》做斗争。联邦党人压制批判的计划没有得逞。

VOICE TWO:

President Adams had signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law. He believed they were necessary to protect the United States at a time when war with France was still possible.

亚当斯总统签署了《外国人法》和《惩治叛乱法》,使其成为法律。他相信,与法国的战争迫在眉睫,为了保护美国,必须这样做。

Then, in early seventeen ninety-nine, Adams received several reports that France was ready to reopen negotiations on improving relations. He immediately nominated a new minister to France. Federalist senators threatened to reject the nomination. In the end, Adams agreed to nominate a committee of three ministers. The Senate approved them.

谁知,1799年初,他收到报告,说法国愿意围绕改善两国关系,重新举行谈判。亚当斯立即任命了派驻法国的新部长。联邦党参议员威胁说,要驳回亚当斯的提名。最后,亚当斯被迫任命了一个由三名部长组成的委员会,才得到参议院的通过。

VOICE ONE:

It was many months before the three men went to France to negotiate the agreement. And it was many more months before they completed their work. But they did so on September thirtieth, eighteen hundred.

这三个人拖了好几个月的时间才前往法国谈判,又花了好几个月的时间才最终达成协议,那时已经是1800年9月30号了。

After several years of bitter political struggle at home, President Adams finally prevented war with France. Later he wrote: "There is one thing I would like to be remembered for more than anything else. I gave myself the task of making peace with France. And I succeeded."

经过多年激烈的国内政治斗争,亚当斯总统终于防止了跟法国的战争。他后来写道:“我最希望被后人记住的是,我担负了与法国维系和平的重任,而且最终成功了。”

VOICE TWO:

The year eighteen hundred was another presidential election year in the United States. The Federalist Party appeared to be dying. It failed in its effort to force the nation into war with France. And it failed to silence its critics through the Alien and Sedition Acts. Party leaders knew the election would be their last chance to keep political power.

1800年又是一个大选年。联邦党看上去了无生气。联邦党人不仅没有促成跟法国的战争,而且没能借助《外国人法》和《惩治叛乱法》压制批判的声浪。联邦党领袖清楚地知道,这次大选是他们抓住政治权力的最后机会。

The Republican Party had more popular support. It also had gained an increasing number of seats in state legislatures and the national Congress. Party leader Thomas Jefferson was sure to be elected president -- unless the Federalists could find a way to change the electoral process.

当时,共和党深得人心,在州议会和联邦议会的势力不断扩大。除非联邦党人能够设法改变选举程序,否则的话,共和党领袖托马斯·杰斐逊在问鼎总统的道路上,看来已是胜券在握。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Maurice Joyce and Richard Rael. Join us again for THE MAKING OF A NATION, an American history series in VOA Special English. Next week our subject will be the election of eighteen hundred. Transcripts, podcasts and MP3s of our programs can be found at www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(4条):
作者:xuding45
The president John Adams serviced as the second leader of the nation. He was caught in the middle of federalists and anti-federalists. John Adams tried to make peace with france and fianlly he did it.
作者:XsXSJ
I just can't understabd the reason why the America resolved to fight with France , for they owed themmoney, and didn't want to pack back? hhahah
作者:Alumni
“ add fuel to the fire" , this happened during the struggle between two parties. Fortunately Thomas Jefferson would be sure to be elected President.
作者:hliu
People likes his ideas agreed, actions supported. This is how a man gets power. Two parties were both loyal Americans, they fought for their philosophies which were good reasons on their side.
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