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#88: The Story of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

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

In the summer of eighteen fifty-eight, two candidates campaigned across the state of Illinois for a seat in the United States Senate. That seat belonged to Stephen Douglas from the Democratic Party. He was seeking re-election. His opponent was a lawyer from the newly established Republican Party. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

1858年夏天,两位候选人激烈争夺伊利诺伊州参议员的位置。候选人之一是民主党籍的现任参议员史蒂文·道格拉斯,他的竞争对手是新成立的共和党籍的律师亚伯拉罕·林肯。

This week in our series, Frank Oliver and Larry West tell us about this campaign of statewide but also national importance.

VOICE ONE:

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln proposed that he and Stephen Douglas hold several debates. The rules for each debate would be the same. One man would speak for an hour. His opponent would speak for an hour and a half. Then the first man would speak for half an hour to close the debate. Douglas agreed.

林肯提议公开辩论,每次辩论包括三个部分,第一部分一小时,由一位候选人发言,第二部分一个半小时,由另一位候选人发言;第三部分半小时,由第一位候选人做补充说明,然后辩论结束。道格拉斯接受了林肯的建议。

There were seven debates in all. They were held in towns throughout Illinois. In some places, there was great interest in what the two candidates had to say. Thousands of people attended.

林肯和道格拉斯两人在伊利诺伊州各地一共举行了七场辩论。民众表现出极大的兴趣,有时多达数千人出席。

Douglas was a short, heavy man. One reporter said he looked like a fierce bulldog. Douglas's friends and supporters called him "the little giant."

道格拉斯参议员身材矮小,敦实。有记者说,他就像是一头凶猛的斗牛犬,道格拉斯的朋友和支持者称他为“小巨人”。

Lincoln was just the opposite. He was very tall and thin, with long arms and legs. His clothes did not fit well. And he had a plain face, one which many thought was ugly. He looked more like a simple farmer than a candidate for the United States Senate.

林肯则恰恰相反。他身材高大消瘦,长手长腿,衣服也不合身。有人觉得他其貌不扬,看起来更象是一个头脑简单的农民,并非参议员候选人。

VOICE TWO:

The Lincoln-Douglas debates covered party politics and the future of the nation. But everything the two men discussed was tied to one issue: slavery.

林肯跟道格拉斯的辩论涉及政党政治和国家前途,但是什么话题都离不开奴隶制的存废。

Douglas spoke first at the first debate. He questioned a statement made in one of Lincoln's campaign speeches. Lincoln had said that the United States could not continue to permit slavery in some areas, while banning it in others. He said the Union could not stand so divided. It must either permit slavery everywhere -- or nowhere.

林肯在竞选演讲中曾表示,美国不能继续在某些地方允许奴隶制的存在,在另外一些地方却禁止奴隶制,不能这样长久分裂下去,要么全面允许蓄奴,要么彻底废除奴隶制。

Douglas did not agree. He noted that the country had been half-slave and half-free for seventy years. Why then, he asked, should it not continue to exist that way. The United States was a big country. What was best for one part might not be best for another.

道格拉斯在首场辩论中率先发言,对林肯的上述观点提出置疑。他表示,七十年来,美国一直是处于这种一半废奴、一半蓄奴的状态,为什么不能继续下去呢?美国疆域辽阔,适合一个地方的制度,对其它地方并不一定是最佳选择。

VOICE ONE:

Stephen Douglas
Stephen Douglas

Then Douglas questioned Lincoln's statement on the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision. Lincoln had said he opposed the decision, because it did not permit Negroes to enjoy the rights of citizenship.

接下来,道格拉斯又对林肯关于联邦最高法院斯科特一案裁决的看法提出异议。林肯反对最高法院的裁决,因为这一裁决剥夺了黑人的公民权。

Douglas said he believed the decision was correct. He said it was clear that the government had been made by white men, for white men. He said he opposed Negro citizenship.

道格拉斯说,他赞成裁决,因为很显然,美国政府是由白人建立的,是为白人服务的。道格拉斯说,他反对让黑人享受公民的权利。

"I do not accept the Negro as my equal," Douglas said. "And I deny that he is my brother. However," he said, "this does not mean I believe that Negroes should be slaves. Negroes should enjoy every possible right that does not threaten the safety of the society in which they live."

道格拉斯说:“我无法接受让黑人跟我平起平坐,我不承认他们是我的兄弟。不过,这并不意味着我认为黑人一定得是奴隶。黑人应该享受所有不对社会安全构成威胁的各项权利。”

"Every state and territory must decide for itself what these rights will be. Illinois decided that Negroes will not be citizens, but that it will protect their life, property, and civil rights. It keeps from Negroes only political rights, and refuses to make Negroes equal to white men. That policy satisfies me," Douglas said. "And, it satisfies the Democratic Party."

道格拉斯还说:“每个州、每个地区必须自行决定这些权利的内容。伊利诺伊州规定,黑人不是公民,但是州政府会保护他们的生命、财产和民权,州政府唯一不让他们享受的就是政治权利,不承认他们跟白人平起平坐。这种政策让我感到满意,也让民主党感到满意。”

VOICE TWO:

Then Lincoln spoke.

Detail of a painting by Robert Marshall of the Lincoln-Douglas debate at Charleston, Illinois
Detail of a painting by Robert Marshall of the Lincoln-Douglas debate at Charleston, Illinois

First, he denied that the Republican Party was an Abolitionist party." I have no purpose," he said, "either directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery where it exists. I believe I have no legal right to do so. Nor do I wish to do so. I do not," Lincoln said, "wish to propose political and social equality between the white and black races."

道格拉斯发言完毕,轮到林肯了。林肯否认共和党是废奴主义政党。他说,我不准备直接或是间接地干涉现存的奴隶制度。我知道,根据法律,我无权这样做,我也不想这样做。我没打算提议在白人和黑人之间实现政治和社会平等。

"But," he went on, "there is no reason in the world why Negroes should not have all the natural rights listed in the Declaration of Independence. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“但是,”林肯话锋一转继续说,“黑人没有理由不能享受独立宣言里列举的所有与生俱来的权利,生命权、自由权和追求幸福的权利”。

"I agree with Judge Douglas," Lincoln said, "that the Negro is not my equal in many ways -- certainly not in color, perhaps not mentally or morally. But in the right to eat the bread that his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man."

林肯说,“我同意道格拉斯法官的看法,黑人在很多方面不能跟我相提并论,肤色就不用说了,可能思维能力或道义水准上也不一样,但是,黑人吃自己亲手赚来的面包的权利,跟我、跟道格拉斯法官、跟所有人,都是平等的。”

VOICE ONE:

Lincoln then defended his statement that the United States could not continue half slave and half free.

林肯在辩论中为自己所说的美国不能长期维持半蓄奴、半废奴的状态提出辩护。

He said he did not mean that customs or institutions must be the same in every state. He said it was healthy and necessary for differences to exist in a country so large. He said different customs and institutions helped unite the country, not divide it.

他说,他并不认为每个州的习俗和政府机制必须千篇一律,在美国这样一个地域广阔的国家里,差异的存在是有益的,也是必要的,不同的习俗和机制有利于国家的团结,而不是分裂。

But Lincoln questioned if slavery was such an institution. He said slavery had not tied the states of the Union together, but had always been an issue that divided them.

但是,林肯认为,奴隶制度并没有起到团结各州的作用,反而一直是各州走向分歧的症结所在。

How had the country existed half-slave and half-free for so many years, Lincoln asked. Because, he said, the men who created the government believed that slavery was only temporary. Once people understood that slavery was not permanent, the crisis would pass.

既然如此,美国怎么又能在这种半蓄奴、半废奴的状态下存在这么多年呢?林肯回答说,这是因为建国元勋们相信,奴隶制度只是暂时的,一旦大家明白,奴隶制度不是永久的,危机就会过去。

Slavery could be left alone in the South until it slowly died. That way, Lincoln said, would be best for both the white and black races.

南方的奴隶制度可以任其自然消亡,这样对黑人和白人都是最佳选择。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln were campaigning for a Senate seat from the state of Illinois. But their debates had national importance, too.

道格拉斯和林肯争夺的虽然只是伊利诺伊州参议员的位置,可两人辩论的重要性却要深远得多。

Douglas expected to be the Democratic candidate for president in eighteen sixty. His statements could win or lose him support for that contest. Whenever possible, he tried to show that he was a man of the people, like Lincoln. He tried to show that his Democratic Party was a national party, while the Republican Party was a party only of the North. And he tried to show that Lincoln's policies would lead to civil war.

道格拉斯希望成为1860年总统大选的民主党候选人,因此希望通过跟林肯的辩论,争取支持。道格拉斯寻找一切机会,显示自己跟林肯一样,是人民的公仆,他努力把自己所在的民主党描绘为一个全国性政党,说共和党只是一个北方人的政党,批评林肯的政策只会引起内战。

VOICE ONE:

Lincoln, for his part, may have looked like a simple farmer. But he was a very smart lawyer and politician. He asked questions which he knew would cause trouble for Douglas. He wanted to create a split between Douglas and his supporters in the South.

林肯虽然看似一个头脑简单的农民,但实际上却是一个聪明过人的律师和政治家。他提出了很多给道格拉斯带来麻烦的问题,目的是要在道格拉斯和他的南方支持者之间制造裂痕。

Lincoln also wanted to keep alive the debate over slavery. "That," he said, "is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself are silent. It is the eternal struggle between right and wrong."

林肯希望让围绕奴隶制度的辩论继续下去。他表示,“这才是核心问题。我跟道格拉斯法官停止辩论后,这个问题还会继续存在下去。这个问题代表了是与非之间的永恒斗争。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

In Illinois in eighteen fifty-eight, the state legislature chose the men who would represent the state in the national Senate. So Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln had to depend on legislative support to get to Washington.

1858年的时候,联邦参议员由州议会选举产生,因此,道格拉斯和林肯的命运掌握在州议会的手中。

On election day, the legislative candidates supporting Lincoln won four thousand more popular votes than the candidates supporting Douglas. But because of the way election areas had been organized, the Douglas Democrats won a majority of seats. The newly elected legislature chose him to be senator.

议会选举结果,支持林肯的议会代表比支持道格拉斯的议会代表多得了四千多张选票,但是由于选区的划分,道格拉斯所在的民主党反而赢得了多数议席,道格拉斯因此当选连任。

VOICE ONE:

Lincoln was sad that he had not won. But he said he was glad to have tried. The campaign, he said, "gave me a hearing on the great question of the age, which I could have had in no other way. And though I now sink out of view and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I have gone."

林肯对参选失败感到失望,但表示,还是很高兴能有这次经历。他说,这次选举“让我有机会对当前最重要的问题发表看法,否则是完全不可能的。虽然我很快会被大家遗忘,但是我相信,我的言行会向后人讲述争取民权自由的努力”。

Many people, however, did not think Abraham Lincoln would be forgotten. His campaign speeches had been published everywhere in the East. His name was becoming widely known. People began to speak of him as a presidential candidate.

然而,很多人并不认为林肯会被遗忘。他的竞选演讲传遍了美国东部,林肯也成了一个家喻户晓的名字,大家开始谈论他参加下届总统大选的可能性。

To win the presidential election of eighteen sixty, the Republican Party had decided it needed a man of the people. He must be a good politician and leader. He must be opposed to slavery, but not too extreme. Many people thought Lincoln could be that man.

共和党觉得,要想在1860年总统大选中获胜,候选人就必须是一个人民公仆、一个优秀的政治家,兼俱领袖才能。他必须反对奴隶制度,但又不能过于极端。很多人觉得林肯是最佳人选。

VOICE TWO:

After the election in Illinois, Lincoln made several speaking trips in the western states. In none of his speeches did he say he might be a candidate for president in eighteen sixty.

伊利诺伊州参议员选举结束后,林肯几次前往西部各州发表演讲,但从没公开表示,有意参加1860年的总统大选。

If anyone said anything about "Lincoln for president," he would answer that he did not have the ability. Or he would say there were better men in the party than himself.

如果有人提出,“支持林肯当总统”,他不是说自己没有这个能力,就是说共和党内还有更合适的人选。

Lincoln said: "Only events can make a president." He would wait for those events.

林肯说过,“时势造英雄”。林肯需要等待时机。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Frank Oliver 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 #88 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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作者:Alumni
Lincoln said: "Only events can make a president." He would wait for those events. yes, event does, but not wait for , just seek for.
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