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#79: Millard Fillmore Signs Compromise of 1850

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ANNOUNCER:

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

In eighteen fifty, the United States Congress debated a proposal for an important compromise. The compromise dealt mostly with the national dispute over slavery. That dispute threatened to split the northern and southern parts of the country. There was a danger of civil war. Many leaders supported the compromise. But President Zachary Taylor did not.

1850年,美国国会围绕一项事关重大的妥协方案展开激烈辩论。辩论的核心议题是奴隶制度的存废。在蓄奴问题上,美国南方和北方意见分歧,使国家面临内战危险。很多领导人支持妥协,但是泰勒总统不以为然。

This week in our series, Leo Scully and Larry West complete our story of the Compromise of Eighteen Fifty.

VOICE ONE:

Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor

Taylor did not think there was a crisis. He did not believe the dispute over slavery was as serious as others did. He had his own plan to settle one part of the dispute. He would make the new territory of California a free state. Slavery there would be banned.

泰勒觉得,危机之谈是某些人危言耸听,事态并没有如此严重。他自己早有打算,准备让加利福尼亚成为一个自由州,禁止蓄奴。

Taylor's plan did not, however, settle other parts of the dispute. It said nothing about laws on escaped slaves. It said nothing about slavery in the nation's capital, the District of Columbia. It said nothing about the border dispute between Texas and New Mexico. The congressional compromise was an attempt to settle all these problems.

但是泰勒的计划过于片面,没有涉及归还逃亡奴隶的法律,没有涉及首都华盛顿特区的奴隶买卖,也没有涉及德克萨斯跟新墨西哥的边界之争。国会提出的妥协议案是要彻底解决所有的问题。

VOICE TWO:

Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky, who had written the compromise, questioned the president's limited proposal. Clay said: "Now what is the plan of the president? Here are five problems, five wounds that are bleeding and threatening the life of the republic. What is the president's plan? Is it to heal all these wounds? No such thing. It is to heal one of the five and to leave the other four to bleed more than ever."

VOICE ONE:

While the debate continued in Washington, the situation in Texas and New Mexico got worse. Texas claimed a large part of New Mexico, including the capital, Santa Fe. Early in eighteen fifty, Texas sent a representative to Santa Fe to take control of the government.

国会激烈辩论的同时,德克萨斯和新墨西哥的矛盾进一步恶化。德克萨斯声称,包括首府圣菲在内的新墨西哥大部分地区都应该归德克萨斯所有。1850年年初,德克萨斯派代表前往圣菲接管政府。

The United States military commander in New Mexico advised the people not to recognize the man. The governor of Texas was furious. He decided to send state soldiers to enforce Texas's claims in New Mexico. He said if trouble broke out, the United States government would be to blame.

美国驻新墨西哥的军事指挥官告诫当地人不要承认德克萨斯的代表。德克萨斯行政长官震怒,决定派兵进驻新墨西哥,捍卫领地。他还表示,如果出现麻烦,责任要由美国联邦政府承担。

VOICE TWO:

President Taylor rejected Texas's claims. He told his secretary of war to send an order to the military commander in New Mexico. The commander was to use force to oppose any attempt by Texas to seize the territory.

泰勒总统不承认德克萨斯的领土要求,他让战争部长向新墨西哥的军事指挥官下达命令,如果德克萨斯试图夺取不属于自己的地域,就武力反击。

The secretary of war said he would not send such an order. He believed that if fighting began, southerners would hurry to the aid of Texas. And that, he thought, might be the start of a southern struggle against the federal government.

战争部长回绝说,不能下达这样的命令。他认为,如果冲突爆发,南方人一定会站在德克萨斯一边,从而引发一场南方反对联邦政府的斗争。

In a short time, the North and South would be at war. When the secretary of war refused to sign the order, President Taylor answered sharply. "Then I will sign the order myself!"

眼看战争一触即发,但是战争部长就是不肯下达命令。泰勒总统严厉地回答,“那我亲自下令!”

Taylor had been a general before becoming president. He said he would take command of the army himself to enforce the law. And he said he was willing to hang anyone who rebelled against the Union.

泰勒原来是将军出身。他表示,他会亲自率兵捍卫法律,如果有人胆敢反抗联邦的话,就要被吊死,绝不手软。泰勒着手写信给国会,商讨新墨西哥的局势,但是这封信没有写完。

VOICE ONE:

Zachary Taylor on his deathbed
Zachary Taylor on his deathbed

President Taylor began writing a message to Congress on the situation. He never finished it. On the afternoon of July fourth, eighteen fifty, Taylor attended an outdoor independence day ceremony. The ceremony was held at the place where a monument to America's first president, George Washington, was being built.

1850年7月4号下午,泰勒前去参加一次庆祝美国建国独立的露天活动。这次活动在建设中的美国开国总统乔治.华盛顿纪念碑前举行。

The day was very hot, and Taylor stood for a long time in the burning sun. That night, he became sick with pains in his stomach. Doctors were called to the White House. But none of their treatments worked.

泰勒在炎炎烈日下站了很长时间,晚上开始肚子疼。医生们急忙赶往白宫,但是治疗无效。

Five days later, President Taylor died. Vice President Millard Fillmore was sworn-in as president.

五天后,泰勒去世,副总统菲尔莫尔宣誓继任。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Fillmore was from New York state. His family was poor. His early education came not from school teachers, but from whatever books he could find. Later, Fillmore was able to study law. He became a successful lawyer. He also served in the United States Congress for eight years.

The Whig Party chose him as its vice presidential candidate in the election of eighteen forty-eight. He served as vice president for about a year and a half before the death of President Taylor.

VOICE ONE:

Fillmore had disagreed with Taylor over the congressional compromise on slavery and the western territories. Unlike Taylor, Fillmore truly believed that the nation was facing a crisis. And he truly believed the compromise would help save the Union.

在蓄奴和西部新增领土的问题上,菲尔莫尔跟泰勒总统意见分歧。菲尔莫尔坚信,国家面临危机,只有妥协才能挽救合众联盟。

Now, as president, Fillmore offered his complete support to the bill. Its chances of passing looked better than ever. Fillmore asked the old cabinet to resign. He named his own cabinet members. All were strong supporters of the union. All supported the compromise.

继任总统后,菲尔莫尔毫无保留地支持国会的妥协方案,给议案的通过带来了曙光。菲尔莫尔要求原来的内阁全体辞职,重新任命内阁成员,这些人都是联邦统一的坚定支持者,全都支持妥协议案。

VOICE TWO:

A painting of President Millard Fillmore by George Healy
A painting of President Millard Fillmore by George Healy

Congress debated the compromise throughout the summer of eighteen fifty. There were several proposals in the bill. Supporters decided not to vote on the proposals as one piece of legislation. They saw a better chance of success by trying to pass each proposal separately. Their idea worked.

1850年整整一个夏天,妥协议案成了国会讨论的焦点。议案包括多项内容。国会议员觉得,就各项提案分开投票,通过的可能性更大。结果证明果真如此。

By the end of September, both the Senate and House of Representatives had approved all parts of the eighteen fifty compromise.

到9月底的时候,国会参众两院已经通过了1850年妥协议案的全部内容。

President Fillmore signed them into law. One part of the compromise permitted California to enter the Union as a free state. One established territorial governments in New Mexico and Utah. One settled the dispute between Texas and New Mexico. Another ended the slave trade in the District of Columbia.

议案经总统菲尔莫尔签字生效。妥协议案允许加利福尼亚做为自由州加入联邦;在新墨西哥和犹他建立地区政府;解决了德克萨斯和新墨西哥之间的领土争端;结束了首都哥伦比亚特区的奴隶买卖。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Many happy celebrations took place when citizens heard that President Fillmore had signed the eighteen fifty compromise. Many people believed the problem of slavery had been solved. They believed the Union had been saved.

菲尔莫尔总统签署1850年妥协法案的消息传来,人民欢欣鼓舞。很多人以为,这样一来,奴隶问题解决了,联邦也得到了挽救。

Others, however, believed the problem had only been postponed. They hoped the delay would give reasonable men of the North and South time to find a permanent answer to the issue of slavery. Time was running out.

另外一些人却相信,这不过是在拖延时间。他们希望,南北双方的有识之士能藉着这段时间,找到奴隶问题的长久解决方法,因为时间已经越来越紧迫了。

VOICE TWO:

It was true that the eighteen fifty compromise had ended a national crisis. But both northern and southern extremists remained bitter. Those opposed to slavery believed the compromise law on runaway slaves violated the constitution.

1850妥协法案确实制止了一场国家危机,但是南方和北方的极端主义者都心怀不满。反对蓄奴的人相信,妥协法案对遣返逃亡奴隶的规定违反了宪法。

The new law said negroes accused of being runaway slaves could not have a jury trial. It said government officials could send negroes to whoever claimed to own them. It said negroes could not appeal such a decision.

根据法案,凡是被控逃亡的奴隶都不能接受陪审团的审判,政府官员可以把他们遣送给奴隶主,奴隶不得就此提出上诉。

Those who supported slavery had a different idea of the compromise. They did not care about the constitutional rights of negroes. They considered the compromise a simple law for the return of valuable property. No law approved by Congress, and signed by the president, could change these beliefs.

支持蓄奴的人对妥协法案有不同看法。他们关心的不是奴隶根据宪法享有的权利。在他们眼里,妥协法案就是一项简单的物归原主的法律。任何国会通过、总统签署的法案都无法改变这一点。

VOICE ONE:

The issue of slavery was linked to the issue of secession. Did states have the right to leave the Union? If southern states rejected all compromises on slavery, did they have the right to secede? The signing of the eighteen fifty compromise cooled the debate for a time. But disagreement on the issues was deep. It would continue to build over the next ten years. Those were difficult years for America's presidents.

奴隶制的存废跟脱离联邦这两个问题紧密相关。各州有权脱离联邦吗?如果南方各州拒绝在奴隶问题上做出任何妥协的话,它们有权宣布脱离联邦吗?1850年妥协法案的签署暂时缓解了争端,但是这一理念上的分歧根深蒂固,在接下来的十年里日益激化,成为美国总统的艰苦岁月。

Next week, we will tell how the situation affected the administration of President Millard Fillmore.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Leo Scully and Larry West. 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 #79 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

网友的学习评论(1条):
作者:Alumni
the president Tayler was not an able man compared to other presidents. it seemed that it really needs the better educated man as a president. Tayler died before in his full term of presidency due to sudden illness. it was something like another president who was dead because of standing outside too long in a severe cold day. the issue of slavery was a little postponed by the compromise policy but the dispute between the north and south were deep. the civil war was just a matter of time.
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