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#18: Finding the Right Plan for a New Government

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

In May of seventeen eighty-seven, a group of America's early leaders met in Philadelphia. They planned to make changes in the Articles of Confederation. Those articles provided for a loose union of the thirteen states. Instead of changes, however, the leaders wrote a new document. It established America's system of government and guaranteed the rights of its citizens. It is still the law of the land.

1787年5月,美国早期领袖在费城开会,他们原计划对确定了美国13个州松散体制的《邦联条例》进行修正,但最后却编纂了一部全新的宪法。这份政治文件创立了美国的政府体系,承认了公民享有的权利,至今依旧是美国的根本大法。

I'm Shep O'Neal. Today, Blake Lanum and I continue the story of the United States Constitution.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The Assembly Room at the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall
The Assembly Room at the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall

The story does not flow easily. The reason is a rule made by the delegates. From the beginning, they agreed that the convention had the right to change its decisions.

然而,制宪大会的进展并非一帆风顺。会议一开始,与会代表就一致同意,大会有权改变已经做出的决定。

The convention did not just discuss a proposal, vote on it and move on to other issues. Any delegate could ask to re-discuss any proposal or any decision. And they often did. Every man who saw one of his ideas defeated brought it up again later. The same speeches that were made the first time were made again. So days, even weeks, passed between discussions of the same proposal.

因此,提案并不是讨论后投票表决就算完事了,任何代表都可以要求对任何议题进行重新讨论。这样一来,很多被否决的议题几天、甚至几周后又会提上日程,代表们就此不厌其烦地辩论。

The story of the Philadelphia convention would be difficult to understand if we told about events day-by-day. So, we will put the calendar and the clock away, and tell how each major question was debated and settled.

如果以流水帐的方式讲述费城制宪大会的始末,恐怕会让人十分费解,因此我们的故事只好围绕主要议题展开。

VOICE ONE:

After the delegates agreed that the convention could change its decisions, they agreed on a rule of secrecy. Guards were placed at the doors of the State House. Newspaper reporters were not permitted inside. And delegates could not discuss convention business in public.

除了可以改变决定外,大会代表还通过了一项保密规则。他们在议会大楼外面安排站岗的卫兵,报社记者一律不许旁听,会议代表也不得公开讨论会议内容。

The secrecy rule led people to get many strange ideas about the convention, especially in Europe.

保密规则引起了人们对大会的各种猜测,特别是在欧洲。

There, most people believed the convention was discussing how America could be ruled by a king. Europeans said a republican government worked in a small country, such as Switzerland, but not, they said, in a land as large as America.

大多数欧洲人都相信,这次大会是要讨论在美国设立王权。欧洲人认为,共和体制只适合于瑞士这种小国家,在美国这样幅员辽阔的国家行不通。

So some of them began talking about which European prince might be asked to become king of America. Some were sure it would be Prince Henry of Prussia. Others said it would be Prince Frederick Augustus, the second son of King George the Third of Britain.

不少人开始猜测,哪位欧洲王子将出任美国国王。有人觉得肯定是普鲁士的亨利王子,另外一些人更看好英国国王乔治三世的次子弗雷德里克·奥古斯塔斯王子。

Without news reports from Philadelphia, even some Americans believed these stories.

在新闻封锁的情况下,就连很多美国人也都对这些说法将信将疑。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

At the time of the convention, Thomas Jefferson was serving as America's representative to France. When he learned of the secrecy rule, he was angry. He believed strongly in freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

制宪大会召开时,托马斯·杰斐逊担任美国驻法国代表。他听说会议采取保密措施后,非常气愤,因为他坚信,言论和新闻应该自由。

More than forty years later, James Madison explained the decision behind the rule.

直到四十多年后,詹姆斯·麦迪逊才解释了大会采取保密规则的原因。

Madison said that if the convention had been open to the public, no delegate would ever change his mind after speaking on an issue. To do so would mean he was wrong the first time he spoke. And no delegate would be willing to admit to the public that he had made a mistake. Madison said if the meetings had been open, the convention would have failed.

他说,如果大会对外公开的话,任何大会代表都不会改变自己的主张,因为这样做就意味着公开承认自己原来是错的。麦迪逊说,如果制宪大会没有保密,肯定会一败涂地。

VOICE ONE:

Another rule helped the delegates speak freely. It was a method of debate called the committee of the whole. It may seem a foolish method. But it was useful then and still is today in legislatures. It is a way for people to discuss ideas, vote, and then change their minds. Their votes -- while in committee -- are not recorded permanently.

大会另外一项有助于代表们畅所欲言的规则是"全体委员会"的辩论方式。虽然听起来有些好笑,但这种方式直到今天依然很有效。根据这一方式,大家可以就提案展开讨论、进行投票表决,并随时改变立场。只要是处于委员会阶段,他们的投票就不会进入永久性记录。

To have the Philadelphia convention become a committee of the whole, the delegates needed to elect a chairman of the committee. They chose Nathaniel Gorham, a judge from Massachusetts.

为了让费城会议成为"全体委员会",与会代表推选来自麻萨诸塞的法官纳撒尼尔·戈勒姆担任委员会主席。

Each morning at ten o'clock, the convention met and declared it was sitting as a committee of the whole. George Washington then left the president's chair. Nathaniel Gorham took his place.

每天早上十点,大会代表聚在一起,宣布大会是"全体委员会",乔治·华盛顿起身离开大会主席的座位,让委员会主席纳撒尼尔·戈勒姆坐下。

Just before four o'clock in the afternoon, the committee of the whole declared it was sitting again as a convention. Judge Gorham stepped down, and General Washington took the chair. He declared that the convention would meet again the next morning.

下午四点,"全体委员会"又宣布恢复为"费城会议",纳撒尼尔·戈勒姆把位置让给乔治·华盛顿,然后由华盛顿宣布会议第二天早上继续。

This process was repeated every day.

这是每天都要走的过场。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

On May twenty-ninth, the delegates heard the Virginia Plan. This was the plan of government prepared by James Madison and other delegates from the state of Virginia.

5月29号,会议代表们听取了维吉尼亚的詹姆斯·杰斐逊等代表提出的政府计划。

The thirty-three-year-old governor of Virginia, Edmund Randolph, presented the plan. First, he spoke about America's existing plan of government, the Articles of Confederation. Governor Randolph praised the Articles and the men who wrote them. He called those men "wise" and "great." But, he said, the articles were written for thirteen states in a time of war. Something more was needed now for the new nation. Something permanent.

当时年仅33岁的维吉尼亚州州长埃德蒙·伦道夫介绍了这项计划。他一上来先对美国现行的《邦联条例》大加赞赏,称编纂这一条例的人"明智"、"伟大"。不过,他又补充说,《邦联条例》是为战争期间的十三个州写的,如今美国已经成为一个独立的国家,因此需要在《邦联条例》的基础上进行补充,需要有一份永久性文件。

VOICE ONE:

George Washington's copy of the Virginia Plan
George Washington's copy of the Virginia Plan

Governor Randolph spoke of conditions in all the states. He told the delegates what they already knew was true. Government was breaking down in many parts of the country.

埃德蒙·伦道夫州长谈到了美国十三州的现状。他说的一切,其实与会代表都知道,那就是,美国很多地方的政府都已经难以为继了。

As he presented the Virginia Plan, Edmund Randolph noted that its fifteen parts were just ideas. The state of Virginia, he said, did not want to force them on the convention. Yet the ideas should be discussed. Change them as you wish, he told the convention. But talk about them fully.

埃德蒙·伦道夫指出,维吉尼亚代表在计划中提出了十五点主张,绝对没有把这些主张强加给费城大会的意思,希望代表们能深入讨论,各抒己见。

Other delegates presented their own plans for discussion. We will talk about some of them in later programs. But from the beginning, the Virginia Plan had the most influence. For more than three months, delegates would debate each part, vote on it, then debate it again.

虽然其他州的代表也提出了各自的计划,但是从一开始,维吉尼亚的计划就是最具影响力的。在接下来的三个月里,代表们对计划里的条款逐项讨论,投票表决,有时还会再次讨论。

The Virginia Plan formed the basis of discussion at the convention in Philadelphia. In the end, it formed the basis of the United States Constitution.

维吉尼亚代表提出的计划成了费城制宪大会讨论的基础,并最终成为美国宪法的基础。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The announced purpose of the convention was to change the Articles of Confederation to make them more effective. The Virginia Plan was not a plan of proposed changes. It was much more extreme. It was, in fact, a plan for a completely new central government.

费城大会原本是要对《邦联条例》进行改进,使其更加有效,但是维吉尼亚代表提出的计划却是要建立一个全新的中央政府。

Debate on the Virginia Plan began May thirtieth. Immediately, Edmund Randolph proposed an amendment. The plan, he noted, spoke of a federal union of states. But such a federation would not work. Instead, he said, America's central government should be a national government. It should contain a supreme legislature, executive and judiciary.

与会代表们从5月30号开始对这项计划展开辩论。埃德蒙·伦道夫一上来就提出了一项修正案,他指出,计划要求建立各州联盟是行不通的。他认为,美国的中央政府应该是一个国家政府,包括最高立法、行政和司法机构。

VOICE ONE:

For a few moments, there was complete silence. Many of the delegates seemed frozen in their chairs. Did they hear correctly?

埃德蒙·伦道夫话音落后,会议厅里一片寂静。很多代表都好像僵在了那里,怀疑自己是不是听错了。

Most of them did not question the idea of a government with three separate parts. Several states already had such a system. But to create a central government that was "national" and "supreme" -- what did these words mean exactly? What was the difference?

对于大多数代表来说,三权分立不成问题,因为当时很多州已经实行了这种体制,但要建立一个"国家的""享有最高权力的"中央政府,这到底意味着什么呢?

The delegates debated the meaning of these words -- federal, national, supreme -- for many days. Both James Madison and Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania tried to explain.

在接下来的很长时间里,与会代表围绕"联邦、国家、最高"这些词的定义展开了激烈讨论。詹姆斯·麦迪逊和宾夕法尼亚州州长格瓦诺·莫里斯提出了不同的解释。

Madison said a federal government acts on states. A national government acts directly on the people.

麦迪逊说,联邦政府针对州采取行动,而国家政府直接针对人民。

Morris gave this explanation. A federal government is simply an agreement based on the good faith of those involved. A national government has a complete system of operation and its own powers.

莫里斯则认为,联邦政府只不过是根据各方诚意达成的协议,而国家政府拥有完整的运作系统和权力。

VOICE TWO:

Pierce Butler of South Carolina wanted to know why a national government was necessary. Did the states need to be national?

南卡罗来纳的皮尔斯·巴特勒想知道,为什么有必要建立一个国家政府。

"But we are a nation!" John Dickinson of Delaware answered. "We are a nation although made of parts, or states."

德拉瓦的约翰·迪金森回答说,"可我们是一个国家啊!我们是一个由很多州组成的国家。

Gouverneur Morris continued. He spoke of the future when the delegates meeting in Philadelphia would be dead. Their children and grandchildren, he said, would stop thinking of themselves as citizens of Pennsylvania or New York or North Carolina. Instead, they would think of themselves as citizens of the United States.

"莫里斯接着谈到了未来。他说,今天在费城参加会议的代表们的子子孙孙不会认为自己是宾夕法尼亚、纽约、或是北卡罗来纳的公民,他们会把自己看成是美国公民。

"This generation will die away," Morris said, "and be followed by a race of Americans."

莫里斯说,我们这一代人会死去,我们的后代就是美国人。

Morris declared that the states had to take second place to a national government with supreme power. "It is better to take a supreme government now," he said, "than a dictator twenty years from now. For come he must."

他表示,各州一定要隶属于一个享有最高权力的国家政府,因为"现在就建立一个最高政府,比20年后肯定会出现的独裁者强。"

In the end, the delegates approved the proposal for a national government. Next week, we will tell about the debate over a national executive, the part of the government that would enforce the laws.

与会代表最终通过了建立国家政府的提案。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English, on radio or online. I'm Shep O'Neal with Blake Lanum. Transcripts and MP3s of our programs are at www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(6条):
作者:流樱豪
good
作者:Wanigfuney
怎么变成中文朗读了?
作者:xuding45
Many delegates had a meeting in Philadelphia. They planed to make some changes in the Articles of Confedertion,but in the end it established American' system. During a long time' debated they aslo writered a new constitution.
作者:fly
Great, wise man who builded one nation. I think that it is same for every conturies among the world. Think of the time then, how difficult it is, how lucky we are! And hope people who are forced by war now would get a live peacefully as early as possible.
作者:郑烈波
for a few moments,there was complete silence.
作者:hliu
People have the right to speak and press, but in order to fight for them these delegates first dismissed outsiders' those rights. For the sake of talking freely, they agreed to use a simple mechod of committees.
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