官方APP下载:英语全能特训(微信小程序版,支持苹果手机、安卓手机)
创办于2003年
UNSV记不住?那就记中文谐音“忧安思危”吧!
  Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
UNSV英语学习频道 - Slow and steady wins the race!
英语全能特训(微信小程序)
UNSV英语学习频道淘宝网店
客服短信:18913948480
客服邮箱:web@unsv.com
初级VIP会员
全站英语学习资料下载。
¥98元/12个月

THE MAKING OF A NATION - American History Series: The Signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia

阅读次数:


VIP会员专享下载:(非VIP会员无权下载!如果想下载,但还不是VIP会员,请点此订购
下载方式:使用鼠标右键(注意是鼠标右键!)点击下面的MP3音频/MP4视频链接,然后选择“另存为…”。
MP3节目录音 MP3节目录音  PDF节目文稿 PDF节目文稿 
文章正文
同步字幕

ANNOUNCER:

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

In May of seventeen eighty-seven, a group of delegates met in Philadelphia to rewrite the Articles of Confederation. They ended up writing a new document instead -- the United States Constitution. For the past several weeks we have been telling the story of the Constitution. Here are Maurice Joyce and Shep O'Neal.

VOICE TWO:

George Washington watches the Constitution being signed
George Washington watches the Constitution being signed

Last week, we told how the convention discussed the difficult issue of slavery. Slavery affected the decision on how to count the population for purposes of representation in Congress. It also affected the powers proposed for the Congress. The convention accepted several political compromises on the issue.

One compromise was the 'three-fifths' rule. The population would be counted every ten years to decide how many representatives each state would have. The delegates agreed that every five Negro slaves would be counted as three persons.

Another compromise permitted states to import slaves until the year eighteen-oh-eight. After that, no new slaves could be brought into the country.

Many of the delegates in Philadelphia did not like these compromises. But they knew the compromises kept the southern states from leaving the convention. Without them, as one delegate said, no union could be formed.

VOICE ONE:

After all the debates, bitter arguments, and compromises, the delegates were nearing the end of their work. Four months had passed since the convention began. The weather had been hot. Emotions had been hot, too. But that was expected...for the men in Philadelphia were deciding the future of their country.

Early in September, the convention appointed five men to a Committee of Style. It was their job to write the document containing all the convention's decisions. William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut was chairman of the committee. The other members were Alexander Hamilton of New York, Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, Rufus King of Massachusetts, and James Madison of Virginia.

Of these five men, Gouverneur Morris was known for the beauty of his language. So Judge Johnson asked him to write the Constitution.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The convention approved twenty-three parts, or articles, for the Constitution. Gouverneur Morris re-wrote them in a more simple form, so there were just seven.

Article One describes the powers of the Congress. It explains how to count the population for purposes of representation. And it says who can become senators or representatives, and how long they can serve.

Article Two describes the powers of the president. It explains who can be president. And it tells how he is to be elected.

Article Three describes the powers of the federal judiciary.

The first three articles provide a system of 'checks and balances'. The purpose is to prevent any of the three branches of government -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- from becoming too powerful.

VOICE ONE:

Article Four explains the rights and duties of the states under the new central government. Article Five provides a system for amending the Constitution. Article Six declares the Constitution to be the highest law of the land. And Article Seven simply says the Constitution will be established when nine states approve it.

In addition to the seven articles, the Constitution contains an opening statement, or preamble.

The convention prepared its own preamble. It began, "We the undersigned delegates of the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts" and so on. And it listed all thirteen states by name.

VOICE TWO:

The Committee of Style did not think it was a good idea to list each state. After all, Rhode Island never sent a delegate to Philadelphia. And no one knew for sure if every state would approve the Constitution.

So, Gouverneur Morris wrote down instead, "We the People of the United States of America ... "

Those simple words solved the committee's problem. Who suspected they would cause angry debate during the fight to approve the Constitution? For they made clear that the power of the central government came not from the nation's states, but directly from its citizens.

VOICE ONE:

The rest of the preamble says why the Constitution was written: In order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, guarantee peace at home, provide for the common defense, work for the well-being of all, and hold on to the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our children.

The next step was to sign the document.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

On September seventeenth, the delegates gathered for the last time. One might think all their business finally was done. But Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts rose to speak.

"If it is not too late," he said, "I would like to make a change. We have agreed that one congressman will represent every forty thousand persons. I think that number should be thirty thousand.

Gorham's proposal could have caused a bitter argument. Then, suddenly, George Washington stood up. The delegates were surprised, because he had said little all summer. "Now," Washington said, "I must speak out in support of the proposed change. It will guarantee a greater voice in the government for the people of the nation." General Washington's influence was strong. Every delegate agreed to accept the change.

VOICE ONE:

Finally, it was time to sign the Constitution. It also was the last chance to speak against it. Many delegates did not like all parts of the Constitution. They stated their objections. Yet, they declared, for the good of the nation, they would sign.

Several, however, refused to put their name on the Constitution.

Edmund Randolph of Virginia said he could not sign the document because he believed it would not be approved. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts did believe the Constitution would be approved. And that, he said, would lead to civil war. So he would not sign.

George Mason of Virginia also refused to sign, but he did not say why. He wrote his thoughts, instead. His chief reason for not signing: the Constitution did not directly guarantee the rights of citizens.

The country would hear this argument again later. Many people agreed with Mason. The results were the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments became known as the Bill of Rights.

VOICE TWO:

The Rotunda at the National Archives in Washington houses the Constitution
The Rotunda at the National Archives in Washington houses the Constitution

Randolph, Gerry, and Mason were the only delegates in Philadelphia who did not sign the Constitution. Four other delegates who opposed went home before the signing. They were Luther Martin and John Mercer of Maryland. And Robert Yates and John Lansing of New York.

Nine men who supported the Constitution also went home early and did not sign. Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut. Caleb Strong of Massachusetts. William Houstoun and William Pierce of Georgia. Alexander Martin and William Davie of North Carolina. William Houston of New Jersey. George Wythe and James McClurg of Virginia.

VOICE ONE:

Few of the delegates in Philadelphia could be sure that enough states would approve the Constitution to make it the law of the land. And few could know then that Americans of the future would honor them as fathers of the nation. But, as several said later, they wrote the best Constitution they could. Without it, the young nation would break apart. The United States of America would disappear before it had a chance to succeed.

VOICE TWO:

As the last delegates moved to the table to sign the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin looked at a painting behind the president's chair. He spoke softly to the men around him.

Franklin noted that it is difficult to paint a morning sun that appears different from an evening sun. "During the past four months of this convention," he said, "I have often looked at that painting. And I was never able to know if the picture showed a morning sun or an evening sun. But now, at last, I know. I am happy to say it is a morning sun, the beginning of a new day."

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Maurice Joyce and Shep O'Neal. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are at www.unsv.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION, an American history series in VOA Special English.

网友的学习评论(6条):
作者:Victor
I think if ever there is something more important than the constitution,it is the respect of constitution
作者:judy
It was just a beginning!Hope it will have a better future.People in the U.S would be thankful to the early founders.
作者:judy
Besides them ,they may be colonies of Bratain again or be break apart.
作者:Quinto
the dawn of a nation
作者:流樱豪
ok
作者:Melody
Well understood about the content of the seven articles of the constitution . It is always not easy to move to the first step before the sucess . Every delegate has its own concern and hard to judge they are selfish . Today's America is the good example , the voice of people can be respected .
版权所有©2003-2019 南京通享科技有限公司,保留所有权利。未经书面许可,严禁转载本站内容,违者追究法律责任。 互联网经营ICP证:苏B2-20120186
网站备案:苏ICP备05000269号-1中国工业和信息化部网站备案查询
广播台