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#82: Kansas Takes Steps Towards Statehood

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

Now, we continue the story of America's fourteenth president, Franklin Pierce.

Pierce was elected in eighteen fifty-two. He was a compromise candidate of the Democratic Party. He was well-liked. But he was not considered a strong leader.

富兰克林·皮尔斯1852年当选美国第14位总统。皮尔斯是经过民主党内部两派力量的妥协产生的。他很有人缘,但不是一位强势领袖。

Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce

The eighteen fifties were an increasingly tense time in the United States. Most of the population lived east of the Mississippi River. But more and more people were moving west. As western areas became populated, they became official territories, and then new states.

十九世纪五十年代,美国日益动荡。大多数人住在密西西比河以东,但是越来越多的人开始西进。随着西部地区居民的增加,这些地区逐渐进入美国版图,最后成为美国新增的州。

What kind of laws would these new territories and states have? Would the laws be decided by the Congress in Washington? Or would they be voted on by the people living in them? The biggest legal question affecting western lands was slavery.

这些地区和州应该遵守哪些法律,法律由国会制定,还是由当地居民自己制定?西部新增土地面临的最大的法律问题就是奴隶制度的存废。

This week in our series, Rich Kleinfeldt and Shirley Griffith tell more about the long disputed issue of slavery and the Kansas-Missouri bill.

VOICE ONE:

Owning another human being was legal in many parts of the United States at that time. Slaves were considered property, like furniture and farm animals.

当时,奴隶制度在美国很多地方都是合法的,奴隶被看做是私人财产,跟家具、牲口没什么两样。

People who owned negro slaves wanted to take all their property -- including the slaves -- with them when they moved west. People who opposed slavery did not want it to spread. Some of them considered slavery a moral issue. They believed it violated the laws of God. An increasing number of white Americans, however, saw slavery as an economic issue. They wanted new states to be free from slavery, so they would not have to compete with slave labor.

奴隶主向西部迁徙的时候,希望能带着自己的全部财产,其中当然也包括奴隶在内。然而,奴隶制度的反对者不希望看到奴隶制的进一步推广。一些废奴主义者认为奴隶制是一个道义的问题,违反了上帝的教诲。与此同时,越来越多的白人开始把奴隶制度看做经济问题。他们希望新增土地上杜绝奴隶的存在,这样一来,就排除了奴隶劳力带来的竞争。

VOICE TWO:

The United States had been established as a democracy. Yet slavery existed. America's early leaders knew that trying to end slavery probably would split the nation in two. So they looked for compromises. They decided it was better to save the Union...even if it was not perfect...than to watch the Union end.

美国虽然建立了民主体制,但奴隶制度依然存在。美国早期领导人知道,强行结束奴隶制可能会造成国家分裂,因此努力寻求妥协。他们宁肯要一个不完美的联邦,也不愿意看到联邦解体。

Like other presidents, Franklin Pierce hoped to avoid the issue. He also believed that earlier legislation had settled the debate. In eighteen twenty, Congress had passed the Missouri Compromise. It extended a line across the map of the United States. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line, slavery was not legal, except in Missouri.

跟其它总统一样,皮尔斯也希望回避奴隶制的问题。他觉得此前的立法已经解决了分歧。1820年,国会通过密苏里协定,一条线将美国一分为二,界线以南奴隶制合法,以北地区除去密苏里以外,奴隶制度属于非法。

Thirty years later, another political compromise made the situation less clear.

三十年后的1850年妥协法案让这一立法变得模糊不清。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The compromise of eighteen fifty made slavery a local issue, instead of a national issue, in several western territories. It said the people in those territories had the right to decide for themselves if slavery would be legal or illegal.

1850年妥协法案使奴隶的存废成了西部的地方性、而并非全国性问题。法案规定,西部新增土地上的居民有权自行决定奴隶制的存废。

Within a few years, that law caused a new debate in Congress. Lawmakers argued: was the peoples' right to decide the issue of slavery restricted only to the territories named in the compromise of eighteen fifty? Or was the right extended to the people of all future territories?

短短几年后,这项法案在国会了引发了一场辩论。国会议员提出疑问,当地居民自行决定奴隶存废的权利只限于法案中罗列的西部地区,还是可以适用于今后所有的新增地区呢?

VOICE TWO:

The answer came in eighteen fifty-four. In that year, Congress debated a proposal to create two territories from one large area in the west. The northern part would be known as the Nebraska territory. The southern part would be known as the Kansas territory. Settlers in both new territories would have the right to decide the question of slavery.

1854年,问题有了答案。当时,有人提议把西部一大片土地切割开来,分为两个区域,北部是今天的内布拉斯加,南部是今天的堪萨斯。这两片地区的定居者有权自行决定奴隶制的存废。

President Pierce did not like the Kansas-Nebraska bill. He feared it would re-open the bitter, national debate about slavery. He did not want to have to deal with the results. Tensions were increasing. Violence was increasingly possible.

皮尔斯总统不喜欢堪萨斯-内布拉斯加议案,担心会重新点燃奴隶制存废之争的激烈辩论,他不愿看到辩论结果。紧张情绪不断加剧,暴力冲突一触即发。

The Kansas-Nebraska bill had a lot of support in the Senate. It passed easily. The bill had less support in the House of Representatives. The vote there was close, but the measure passed. President Pierce finally agreed to sign it. In exchange, congressional leaders promised to approve several presidential appointments.

堪萨斯-内布拉斯加议案在参议院轻松过关,但是在众议院里遇到了阻力,投票结果非常接近,最后勉强通过。皮尔斯总统只好同意在议案上签字。做为交换,国会领袖保证批准若干总统任命。

Supporters of the Kansas-Nebraska bill celebrated their victory. They fired cannons as the city of Washington was waking to a new day. Two senators who opposed the bill heard the noise as they walked down the steps of the capitol building. One of them said: "They celebrate a victory now. But the echoes they awake will never rest until slavery itself is dead."

议案在国会通过后,议案的支持者们一大早放炮庆祝,两位反对议案的参议员走下国会大厦台阶时听到炮声,其中一位参议员说:“他们现在可以庆祝胜利,但是除非奴隶制度终结,否则他们引起的回响绝不会停息。”

VOICE ONE:

The new bill gave the people of Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide if slavery would be legal or illegal. The vote would depend on who settled in the territories. It was not likely that people who owned slaves would settle in Nebraska. However, there was a good chance that they would settle in Kansas.

根据新法案,堪萨斯和内布拉斯加的居民有权自行决定奴隶制是否合法。这就意味着,奴隶制的存废取决于什么人在那里定居。

Groups in the South organized quickly to help pro-slavery settlers move to Kansas. At the same time, groups in the North helped free-state settlers move there, too.

南方人迅速组织起来,帮助支持奴隶制的人迁往堪萨斯。北方人不甘示弱,也协助主张废奴的人搬到那里去。

VOICE TWO:

A map of the Territory of Kansas
A map of the Territory of Kansas

Some of the northern groups were companies called emigrant aid societies. Shares of these companies were sold to the public. The money was used to help build towns and farms in Kansas. Owners of the companies hoped to make a lot of money from the development.

北方出现了一些叫做移民协助社团的公司,公司股票上市,从社会上集资,在堪萨斯兴建城镇和农场,公司股东希望能从中谋利。

The southern effort to settle Kansas was led mostly by slave-owning farmers in Missouri. They believed that peace in Missouri depended on what happened in Kansas. They did not want to live next to a territory where slavery was not legal.

南方的主要推手是密苏里的农场奴隶主。他们相信,密苏里州的和平取决于堪萨斯的局势,他们不希望自己旁边出现一块自由的土地。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

In Washington, President Pierce announced the appointment of Andrew Reeder to be governor of the Kansas territory. Pro-slavery settlers urged Reeder to hold immediate elections for a territorial legislature. They believed they were in the majority. They wanted a vote before too many free-state settlers moved in. The legislature would have the power to keep the territory open to slavery and, in time, help it become a slave state.

皮尔斯总统任命安德鲁·里德尔担任堪萨斯地区的总督。支持蓄奴的定居者敦促里德尔立即举行议会选举,因为他们自认为占有优势,希望在更多主张废奴的人来到之前尽快投票,让自己人进入议会,逐渐推动堪萨斯成为一个奴隶州。

VOICE TWO:

Andrew Reeder
Andrew Reeder

Governor Reeder rejected the demands. He decided to hold an election, but only for a territorial representative to the national Congress. On election day, hundreds of men from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas. They voted illegally, and the pro-slavery candidate won.

里德尔总督拒绝了他们的要求。他决定举行选举,但是只推选堪萨斯的联邦国会代表。选举日那天,数以百计的人从密苏里跨界进入堪萨斯,非法投票,结果主张蓄奴的候选人当选。

The same thing happened when Kansas finally held an election for a legislature. Governor Reeder took steps to make the voting fair. His efforts were not completely successful. Once again, men from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas. Many of them carried guns. They forced election officials to count their illegal votes. As a result, almost every pro-slavery candidate was elected to the new legislature.

堪萨斯举行地方议会选举时,这种情况再次发生,尽管里德尔采取了防范措施,但还是有人从密苏里偷偷进入堪萨斯,很多人还随身带着枪,他们强迫选举官员接受他们的非法选票,结果,几乎所有支持蓄奴的候选人都被选进了议会。

VOICE ONE:

The governor ordered an investigation. The investigation showed evidence of wrong-doing in six areas, and new elections were held in those areas. This time, when only legal votes were counted, many of the pro-slavery candidates were defeated. Yet there were still enough pro-slavery candidates to have a majority.

里德尔总督下令调查,结果在六个地区发现了造假的证据,因此重新选举,在只计算合法选票的情况下,很多主张蓄奴的候选人败下阵来,但是议会里主张蓄奴的人还是占据多数。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Andrew Reeder was governor of a bitterly divided territory. He wanted to warn President Pierce about what was happening.

里德尔总督看到自己辖区里的严重分歧,希望提醒皮尔斯注意。

Reeder went to Washington. He met with Pierce almost every day for two weeks. He described how pro-slavery groups in Missouri were interfering in Kansas. He said if the state of Missouri refused to deal with the trouble-makers, then the national government must deal with them. He asked the president to do something.

他赶往华盛顿,连续两个星期,几乎每天都去见皮尔斯。他告诉皮尔斯说,密苏里主张蓄奴的团体在堪萨斯捣乱,如果密苏里州不对付这帮人的话,联邦政府就得出面。他要求皮尔斯采取行动。

VOICE ONE:

Pierce agreed that Kansas was a serious problem. He seemed ready to act. So Reeder returned home and opened the first meeting of the territorial legislature. The pro-slavery majority quickly voted to move to a town close to the Missouri border. It also approved several pro-slavery measures.

皮尔斯同意里德尔的意见,承认堪萨斯的问题确实很严重,他似乎决心采取行动。里德尔因此启程返回堪萨斯,召开了堪萨斯的第一次议会会议。支持奴隶制的议会多数迅速投票,决定迁往靠近密苏里州界的一个城镇,并通过了几项有利于奴隶制的措施。

Governor Reeder vetoed these bills. But there were enough votes to reject his veto and pass the new laws.

里德尔否决了这些议案,但是议会多数驳回了他的否决,通过了这些新法。

VOICE TWO:

Wilson Shannon
Wilson Shannon

The Kansas legislature also sent a message to President Pierce. It wanted him to remove Andrew Reeder as governor. Political pressure was strong, and the president agreed. He named a new governor, Wilson Shannon. Shannon supported the pro-slavery laws of the legislature. He also said Kansas should become a slave state, like Missouri.

堪萨斯地方议会还写信给皮尔斯总统,希望他撤销里德尔的总督职务。迫于巨大的政治压力,皮尔斯总统只好同意。他任命威尔逊·香农接替总督的职务,香农支持地方议会通过的支持蓄奴的法案,并表示,堪萨斯应该跟密苏里一样,成为一个奴隶州。

Free-state leaders were extremely angry. They felt they could not get fair treatment from either the president or the new governor. So they took an unusual step. They met and formed their own government in opposition to the elected government of the territory. It would not be long before the situation in Kansas became violent.

这种发展引起了自由州领袖的极度愤怒。他们觉得无论是皮尔斯总统,还是新任总督,都不会公正处理这件事,因此决定采取一个不同寻常的行动,组建了自己的地方政府,跟华盛顿承认的地方政府唱反调。堪萨斯逐渐走向暴力。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Rich Kleinfeldt and Shirley Griffith. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs can be found 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 #82 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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