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#67: The Rise of the Movement Against Slavery

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

In eighteen forty, as the administration of Martin Van Buren came closer to an end, there was a widespread feeling that he had not been a strong president. He seemed unable to make the people understand his policies. The opposition Whig Party was happy over Van Buren's failures.

1840年,美国总统范布伦的第一届任期接近尾声。大家普遍觉得,范布伦不是一个优秀的总统,他好像不知道如何向民众推销自己的政策。范布伦的失败,让反对党辉格党感到十分高兴。

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant describe how the Whigs saw an excellent chance in the upcoming election.

Henry Clay
Henry Clay

VOICE ONE:

The Whig leader in the Senate was Henry Clay of Kentucky. Clay told a friend he was sure he would be called on to serve as the Whig candidate for president. Other Whig leaders were not so sure. They did not question Clay's ability to be president. But he had been a candidate both in eighteen twenty-four and eighteen thirty-two. And he had lost both times.

辉格党在参议院里的领袖是肯塔基州的参议员亨利.克莱。克莱告诉自己的朋友说,他敢肯定,自己将会成为辉格党的总统候选人。辉格党的其他领袖并不这么肯定。他们对克莱的能力毫不怀疑,但问题是,克莱1824年和1832年先后两次参加总统竞选,结果都败下阵来。

Then there was a growing political force in the United States that would not be helpful to Clay's candidacy. That was the abolitionist movement, which opposed slavery. Abolitionists did not like Clay, because he owned slaves.

还有一个对克莱不利的因素是,当时美国已经掀起了一股势不可挡的废奴运动。废奴主义者不喜欢克莱,因为克莱本人就是奴隶主。

VOICE TWO:

The dispute over slavery seemed to have been laid to rest for a time. But during the eighteen thirties, it rose to the surface again. A major reason why the dispute came alive again was cotton. Cotton plants spread across the states of the south.

19世纪30年代,美国围绕奴隶制度发生的争议死灰复燃,其主要原因是棉花的种植。美国南部各州到处都是棉花种植场。

Cotton production had grown so heavily that it gave the south a one-crop economy. Cotton depended on the labor of slaves. By the eighteen thirties, cotton planters believed that without slavery, the whole economic system of the south would lie in ruins. To them, slavery was no longer just a question of right or wrong. It was a necessity for survival.

棉花产量巨大,逐渐成为了南方经济单一化的支柱产业。棉花的种植依赖奴隶。十九世纪30年代,美国的棉花种植主开始觉得,如果没有奴隶,美国南部经济就会崩溃。对他们来说,奴隶制度已经不再是一个对与错的问题,而是生存之必需。

VOICE ONE:

Cotton made the agricultural south economically dependent on the industrial north. Northern ships carried southern cotton to the markets of Europe. Manufactured goods needed in the South came from the North. The South put so much time and energy into growing cotton, that it failed to give much thought to developing industries of its own.

棉花的种植也让美国南部的农业经济依赖于北方的工业经济。北部商船将南方的棉花运往欧洲,然后再把南方需要的商品运回来,南方各州把时间和精力全都集中在了棉花的生产上,从而完全没有想到要在南方发展自己的工业。

The situation deeply troubled the political leaders of the South. What made things worse was the fact that most of the federal government's financial aid for public works went to the North.

这种情况让南方各地的政治领袖忧心忡忡。让局面变得更加糟糕的是,联邦政府的大部分经济援助都用在了北方基础设施的建设上面。

Then there was the old dispute over import taxes. Taxes on foreign goods mostly helped the manufacturers of the North. The taxes were to be lowered in eighteen forty-two. But that was some time in the future. No one could be sure what would happen then.

除此之外,还有长期以来围绕进口税发生的争执。对进口物资征税的主要受益者是北方制造商。虽然国会已经决定1842年减税,但那还是几年后的事情,没人能保证到底会发生些什么。

Such was the general political and economic picture in the United States when the abolitionist movement began to make itself felt.

这就是废奴运动兴起时美国的政治和经济大环境。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

In the beginning, the abolitionist movement was organized by religious groups. The members of these groups believed there could be no compromise with evil. They felt that slavery was evil. So slavery must go.

起初,废奴运动是由宗教团体组织的,他们坚信,奴隶制度是邪恶的化身,正义不能跟邪恶相妥协,因此,奴隶制度必须取消。

The eighteen thirties saw the birth of anti-slavery societies in New York and New England. The societies published newspapers and pamphlets. They began to flood the country with pamphlets and anti-slavery petitions.

19世纪30年代,美国东北部的纽约和新英格兰一带出现了一些反对奴隶制度的社团。他们发行报纸和宣传品,在全国各地大量散发宣传品和请愿书。

The South tried to stop the flow of this anti-slavery literature across the borders of southern states. The Abolitionists, in turn, declared that such actions violated freedom of the press and the constitutional right of petition. This was the beginning of a long, bitter struggle. It lasted for twenty years. It finally split the Union.

南方各州采取行动,试图阻止废奴的宣传品进入南方的地盘。废奴主义者因此宣布,南方各州的行动侵犯了媒体自由和宪法规定的自由请愿的权利。双方的争执引发了一场漫长而激烈的斗争,前后持续二十年,最终导致了联邦的分裂。

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams

VOICE ONE:

The abolitionists had not as yet received major support from the people of the North. Many northerners were hostile to them. But in eighteen thirty-six, the House of Representatives declared that it would not listen to any anti-slavery petitions. This became known as the "gag rule."

我们在前面的建国史话中讲到了废奴运动的起源。起初,废奴主义者并未得到北方的积极支持。北方很多人都对废奴主义者抱有敌意。然而,1836年,国会众议院宣布,不再接受任何反对奴隶制度的请愿书,这就是所谓的“言论限制令”(Gag Rule)。

The Senate did not pass such a rule. But the Senate still made it almost impossible for anti-slavery petitions to come before it.

国会参议院没有通过类似规定,但是类似请愿也很难得到参议院的受理。

Former President John Quincy Adams, who was then a congressman, rose up in protest. He was not an abolitionist. But he led a campaign against the gag rule. Adams said the rule was a violation of the constitutional right to petition Congress. The gag rule made great numbers of people in the North very angry. Because of it, these people began to support the abolitionist movement.

美国前总统、国会众议员约翰.昆西.亚当斯带头反对。亚当斯本人并不是废奴主义者,但是他不同意国会的“言论限制令”。亚当斯说,这一禁令侵犯了宪法规定的民众向国会请愿的权利。“言论限制令”让北方的很多人感到愤怒,出于这个原因,很多人才开始支持废奴运动。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The increasing bitterness over the issue of slavery put Whig leader Henry Clay in a difficult position. Clay was under pressure to make a decision on slavery, on the abolitionists, and on the southern extremists.

围绕奴隶制度展开的激烈争执让辉格党领袖亨利.克莱左右为难。面对外界压力,克莱必须在奴隶制、废奴运动和南方极端主义等问题上表明自己的立场。

Where did he stand? Senator Clay had always hated slavery, although he owned some slaves himself. In a Senate speech in eighteen thirty-three, he called slavery "this great evil ... the darkest spot in the map of our country."

克莱参议员一直痛恨奴隶制,尽管他本人就是奴隶主。1833年在向参议院发表的一次讲话中,克莱称奴隶制是“巨大的邪恶,是我们国家版图上最阴暗的一点。”

Clay feared that the dispute over slavery might destroy him as a political leader. And, what was worse, he was afraid that it might destroy the nation. Clay was an extremely strong believer in the Union.

克莱担心,围绕奴隶制的争议会毁了他的政治前程,更可怕的是,会毁了整个国家。克莱是一个坚定的联邦主义者。

VOICE ONE:

Clay opposed violent action. He thought the slow growth of public opinion was better than violence in bringing about a solution to slavery. Clay hated the abolitionists and the great noise they were beginning to make over slavery. He said they were interfering with a southern institution and were forcing slavery into politics. Slavery, he declared, did not belong in politics.

克莱反对暴力行动。他觉得,要找到解决奴隶制的途径,循序渐进的舆论力量要比暴力冲突更为有效。克莱痛恨那些废奴主义者和他们制造的激烈言论。克莱说,这些人是在插手南方的一大社会机制,迫使奴隶制的问题进入政治舞台。克莱宣称,奴隶制不属于政治范畴。

Still, Clay was a national leader. He knew it would be bad to stand too strongly opposed to the growing abolitionist movement. Clay also opposed the southern senators who tried to prevent discussion of slavery. He said their position was emotional and extreme. It was as bad as that of the abolitionists.

作为政治领袖,克莱知道,不能强烈反对风起云涌的废奴运动。克莱同时也对那些试图压制辩论的南方参议员十分反感。他表示,这些人过于冲动,极端,跟废奴主义者一样对国家不利。

John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun

VOICE TWO:

The Senate did, in fact, discuss slavery, in a general way. It was concerned about the legal position of the federal government in relation to slavery. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina offered a resolution for consideration. This is what he said:

参议院就奴隶制展开了辩论,对联邦政府在这一争执中的法律地位表示关切。南卡罗来纳州的约翰.卡尔霍恩参议员提出一项决议。

The Union was created by an agreement among the states. Each state had the constitutional right to complete control over its own institutions. It was the job -- the duty -- of the government in Washington to protect that right. That meant protection against any interference in the institution of slavery.

决议说,“联邦是各州协议的产物。各州对全面控制本州的体制享有宪法赋予的权力。华盛顿联邦政府的工作和义务是保障各州的权力,这就意味着保护奴隶制度不受外来干涉。”

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Calhoun was most forceful when it came to slavery in the District of Columbia and in the territories. He declared that any federal, state, or private interference with slavery in those places was a direct and dangerous attack on the interests of slave states. Calhoun said the South must not surrender an inch to the abolitionist movement. "If we do," he said, "we are gone."

涉及到华盛顿和当时另外一些特区的奴隶制度时,卡尔霍恩尤其激动。他宣称,任何联邦、州、或是私人对这些地方的奴隶制度的干涉,都是对奴隶州的利益发起的直接和危险的攻击。卡尔霍恩说,南方各州不能对废奴运动做出任何让步。卡尔霍恩说,“否则的话,我们就完了。”

VOICE TWO:

Senator Clay did not like such extreme talk about states' rights. He became especially angry when states talked about separating from the Union, instead of trying to solve problems together.

克莱参议员对这类主张各州权力的极端言论很不满意,尤其是有人提出退出联邦,而不是共同努力解决问题的时候。

"Separation," Clay said, "is a terrible word. One's ears should not accept it. I desire to see -- in continued safety and prosperity -- this Union, and no other Union. I am opposed to all separate confederacies and to all sectional conventions. This Union, this government, will do nothing to attack the rights and security of the slave-holding states."

克莱说,“分裂是一个可怕的字眼,是一个不能入耳的字眼。我希望看到,这个联邦,而不是其他任何联邦,能保持安全和繁荣,反对一切分裂和派系会议。这个联邦,这个政府,绝对不会侵犯奴隶州的权力和安危。”

VOICE ONE:

Clay then offered his own resolution for Senate consideration. This is what he said:

克莱随即也提出了一项决议。

Congress had no legal power over slavery within the states. Therefore, petitions for the abolition of slavery must be rejected, because Congress had no constitutional right to act on them. The Senate approved Clay's resolution. It rejected the one offered by Calhoun.

他说,“国会对各州的奴隶制没有法律权力。因此,国会必须驳回一切关于废除奴隶制的请愿,因为根据宪法,国会无权在这个问题上采取行动。”国会参议院接受了克莱的决议案,否决了卡尔霍恩的决议。

The sheet music cover for an 1844 abolitionist song called
The sheet music cover for an 1844 abolitionist song called "Get Off the Track"

VOICE TWO:

Clay had acted as he did because he wanted to settle the dispute, and because he loved the Union. He did so for personal political reasons, too. Clay had defended the constitutional right of petition. That pleased the North. But he also had used a legal move to block the Abolitionist Movement from bringing anti-slavery petitions before Congress. That pleased the South.

克莱这样做是为了解决争端,是为了他深爱的联邦。他这样做也是出于个人目的。他既捍卫了宪法规定的请愿权,让北方人感到满意;又阻止国会受理废奴运动的请愿,取悦于南方。

Clay believed he had protected his national position. He told a friend: "I have acted in such a way that I lost nothing, either in the South or the North."

克莱相信,他这么做维护了自己的全国政治地位。他事后告诉一位朋友说,“我这么做没有丝毫损失,不论是在北方还是在南方。”

VOICE ONE:

As the national election of eighteen forty got closer, the Whig Party felt more hopeful. They began to believe they could defeat President Van Buren in his attempt to win a second term. But they also began to turn away from Henry Clay as a presidential candidate. The election of eighteen forty will be our story next week.

随着1840年总统大选的临近,辉格党越来越信心十足。他们相信,一定能挫败现任总统范布伦竞选连任的努力。但与此同时,辉格党人也开始逐渐抛弃亨利.克莱,寻找新的总统候选人。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are online, along with historical images, at www.unsv.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #67 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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作者:Alumni
salvery had been a big issue in the making of America because they had declared solemnly that all man are created equal in their constitution.
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