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#26: The Heart and Spirit of the Constitution

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ANNOUNCER:

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

George Washington
George Washington

Last week in our series, we described how the Constitution became law once nine of America's first thirteen states ratified it. The Continental Congress set a date for the new plan of government to take effect. The first Wednesday in March, seventeen eighty-nine.

在上次的建国史话中,我们讲到,经过各州的辩论和投票,宪法被正式接受。大陆会议宣布,1789年三月份的第一个星期三,宪法生效。

Now, here are Richard Rael and Shep O'Neal to continue our story.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

In seventeen eighty-nine, the population of the United States was about four million. The thirteen states had been loosely united for a short time, only about ten years. Before that, they were separate colonies of Britain.

1789年的时候,美国有大约四百万人口,在这之前的十年里,美国十三个州一直处于松散的邦联状态,再往前说,它们还都是英国的殖民地。

Because the colonies were separate, their people developed different ways of life. Their economies and traditions were different. As a result, Americans were fiercely independent. An emergency -- the crisis of the revolution -- brought them together.

这些各自独立的殖民地,形成了各具特色的生活方式,它们的经济和传统也存在差异,是独立战争这一紧急事件,让它们走到了一起。

Together, they celebrated the Fourth of July, the day America declared its independence from Britain. Together, they fought British troops to make that declaration a political reality. Together, they joined under the Latin phrase 'E Pluribus Unum' -- one out of many.

他们一起庆祝七月四号美国独立日,一起跟英国军队作战,让独立成为政治现实。他们联合建国,合众为一。

Yet when the war ended, the soldiers returned to their home states. They still thought of themselves as New Yorkers, or Virginians, or Marylanders. They did not consider themselves a national people.

但是战争结束后,大家却纷纷打道回府,依然把自己看成是纽约人、维吉尼亚人、或是马里兰人,而不把自己看成是美国人。

VOICE ONE:

Americans of seventeen eighty-nine were sharply divided on the need for a national government. Many were afraid the new government would not survive. They feared the anarchy that would result if it failed. Others hoped it would fail. They wanted strong state governments, not a strong central government.

1789年时候的美国人在是否需要建立一个联邦政府的问题上分为两大阵营,很多人担心新政府成不了气候,担心联邦政府的失败会造成无政府状态;还有人希望联邦政府失败,因为他们不想要一个强大的联邦政府,更喜欢强大的州政府。

For those who supported the national government, there were good reasons to hope for success. The country had great natural resources. And its people were honest and hard-working.

支持建立联邦政府的人认为,成功的希望还是很大的,因为美国有丰富的自然资源,而且美国人民正直诚实、吃苦耐劳。

Also, in seventeen eighty-nine, the American economy was improving after the destruction of the Revolutionary War. Agriculture, trade, and shipbuilding were coming back to life. Roads, bridges, and canals were being built to improve travel and communication.

与此同时,1789年的时候,美国经济正在从独立战争的创伤中复苏。农业、贸易和造船业重新繁荣,道路、桥梁和运河也不断修建,改善了交通往来。

The country's economy had many problems, however. Two major issues had to be settled. One was repayment of loans made to support the Revolutionary Army. The other was creation of a national money system. Both issues needed quick action.

不过,美国的经济依然存在不少问题,其中两个重要问题急需解决,一个是偿还独立战争的债务,另外一个是建立一个全国范围的货币系统。这两个问题都迫在眉睫,需要立即行动。

VOICE TWO:

But before the new government could act, the old government had work to do. It had to decide where the capital city of the new nation would be. It also had to hold elections for president and Congress. First, the question of a capital.

然而,新政府采取行动之前,旧政府还有工作没有完成,包括选择首都所在地,以及举行总统和国会的选举。首要任务是定都。

At the time the states ratified the new Constitution, the Continental Congress was meeting in New York City. And that is where it decided to place the new government. Later, the capital would be moved to Philadelphia for a while. Finally, it would be established at Washington, D.C.

各州批准新宪法的时候,大陆会议开会的地点是纽约,因此纽约就成了美国的第一个首都,后来迁往费城,最后才搬到了今天的首都华盛顿特区。

Next, the Continental Congress had to decide when the states would choose a president. It agreed on March fourth, seventeen eighty-nine. That was when the new Constitution would go into effect.

接下来,大陆会议要决定什么时候举行总统选举。会议最后把日子定在了1789年3月4号,新宪法生效的那一天。

VOICE ONE:

The eleven states that ratified the Constitution chose electors to vote for a president. The result was not a surprise. They chose the hero of the Revolutionary War: George Washington. No one opposed the choice.

已经批准了宪法的十一个州挑选出选举人,参加总统选举的投票,结果毫无悬念,他们一致推选独立战争中的英雄人物--乔治·华盛顿担任第一届总统,没有任何人反对。

Although not required by the Constitution, George Washington presented the first presidential inaugural address on April 30, 1789
Although not required by the Constitution, George Washington presented the first presidential inaugural address on April 30, 1789

Washington learned of his election while at his home in Virginia, Mount Vernon. He left for New York and was inaugurated there on April thirtieth.

乔治·华盛顿得知自己当选的消息时,正在弗农山庄。他动身赶往纽约,4月30号宣誓就职。

Members of the new Congress also were elected on March fourth.

国会也于3月4号选举产生。

Now, for the first time, Americans had something many of them had talked about for years -- a working national government. There was much work to be done. The machinery of government was new, untested. Quick decisions were needed to keep the new nation alive and healthy.

总统和国会产生后,美国人第一次真正有了一个联邦政府,这是很多人多年来一直讨论的。不过,还有很多工作要做。新的国家机器需要接受考验,政府需要马上做出决策,让这个新的国家繁荣昌盛。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

One of the first things the Congress did was to re-open debate on the Constitution itself. Several states had set a condition for approving the document. They said a Bill of Rights must be added to the Constitution, listing the rights of all citizens.

国会的第一件事就是重新展开了对宪法的讨论。大家都还记得,当初同意批准宪法时,好几个州都提出了预设条件,那就是,要在宪法的基础上补充保护公民权利的修正法案。

When the Constitution was written, a majority of the states already had their own bills of rights. So some delegates to the convention said a national bill was unnecessary. Others argued that the Constitution would be the highest law of the land, higher than state laws. So a national bill of rights was needed to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the new nation.

编纂宪法的时候,大多数州已经有了自己的权利法案,因此费城制宪大会的很多代表都认为,不再需要一个全国性的权利法案了,但是其他人却争辩说,宪法是一个国家的最高法律,高于州的立法,因此需要一个全国权利法案,保护美国公民的权利。

Time proved this to be a wise decision. The Bill of Rights gave the Constitution a special strength. Many Americans consider the Bill of Rights to be the heart and spirit of the Constitution.

历史证明,这一决策是非常明智的。权利法案给宪法增添了特别的力量。很多美国人都把权利法案看做美国宪法的核心和精神。

VOICE ONE:

Twelve amendments were proposed; the 10 that were ratified became the Bill of Rights in 1791
Twelve amendments were proposed; the 10 that were ratified became the Bill of Rights in 1791

What is this Bill of Rights that is so important to the citizens of the United States? It is contained in the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

那么,美国人如此看重的权利法案究竟是什么呢?权利法案就是美国宪法的前十个修正案。

The First Amendment is the basic statement of American freedoms. It protects freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

第一修正案宣示了美国人最基本的自由,即宗教自由、言论自由和新闻自由。

The First Amendment guarantees that religion and government will be separate in America. It says Congress will make no law establishing an official religion. Nor will Congress interfere in the peoples' right to worship as they choose. The First Amendment also says Congress will not make laws restricting the peoples' right to gather peacefully and to make demands on the government.

第一修正案保证美国政教分离,规定国会不得立法确立国教,也不得干涉人民选择宗教信仰的自由。第一修正案还说,国会不得立法,限制人民和平集会,向政府请愿的权利。

The Second Amendment guarantees the peoples' right to keep weapons as part of an organized militia. The Third Amendment says people may not be forced to let soldiers stay in their homes during peacetime.

第二修正案保证人民有权持有武器,作为有组织的民兵的一部分。第三修正案规定,和平时期不得强迫民众让士兵待在自己的家中。

VOICE TWO:

The Fourth through the Eighth Amendments all protect the peoples' rights in the criminal justice system.

第四到第八修正案规定了民众在司法体系中的权利。

The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. If police want to search a suspect's house or papers, they must get special permission from a judge. The document from the judge must say exactly what police are looking for. And it must describe the place to be searched.

第四修正案规定,没有正当理由,不得搜查和没收。如果警察希望搜查嫌疑人的住所或文件,必须得到法官的特别许可,许可上一定要具体说明警察寻找的物件,必须注明搜查的地点。

VOICE ONE:

The Fifth Amendment says no one can be put on trial for a serious crime unless a grand jury has first examined the evidence and agreed that a trial is needed. No one can be put on trial more than once on the same criminal charge. And no one can be forced to give evidence against himself in court.

第五修正案规定,任何人因为严重的罪行受审之前,大陪审团必须首先听取证据,对审判的必要性做出判断。任何人都不得因为同一犯罪行为受到两次审判。不得强迫任何人在法庭上自证其罪。

The Fifth Amendment also says no one can lose their freedom, property, or life except by the rules of law. And the government cannot take people's property for public use without paying them a fair price.

第五修正案还说,除非根据法律,否则任何人不得失去自由、财产和生命。政府将个人财产充作公用,必须给予公平的赔偿。

VOICE TWO:

The Sixth Amendment says all persons accused of crimes have the right to a fair and speedy public trial by a jury. This guarantees that people cannot be kept in prison for a long time unless a jury has found them guilty of a crime.

第六修正案规定,所有被控犯罪的人都有权接受陪审团的公平和迅速的公开审理。这就保证,除非陪审团认定有罪,否则不能将嫌疑人长期关在监狱中。

The Sixth Amendment also guarantees the right of accused persons to be defended by a lawyer. It says they must be informed of the nature and cause of the charges against them. And it says they have the right to face and question their accusers.

第六修正案还保证,被告有权得到律师的辩护,他们必须被告知自己被控罪行的性质和理由,被告有权跟原告证人当面对质。

The Seventh Amendment guarantees a person's right to have a jury decide his legal dispute with another person. The Eighth Amendment bars all cruel and unusual punishments.

第七修正案规定,涉案人有权让陪审团来决定他跟另外一个人的法律纠纷。第八修正案禁止了所有残忍和不同寻常的惩罚方式。

The Ninth Amendment provides protection for other rights not stated directly in the Constitution. And the Tenth Amendment says any powers which the Constitution does not give to the national government belong to the states or to the people themselves.

第九修正案保证了宪法中没有明确说明的其它权利。第十修正案规定,宪法没有赋予联邦政府的任何权利,都归各州或是人民所有。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

A majority of the states approved the Bill of Rights by the end of seventeen ninety-one. As we have seen, these amendments limited the powers of the national government. As a result, many anti-Federalists ended their opposition. They accepted the new government. Many agreed to help with the job of building the new nation.

1791年年底前,大多数州都已经批准了权利法案。这些修正案限制了联邦政府的权利。很多反联邦主义者因此不再反对宪法。他们接受了新政府,很多人还同意协助建立新国家。

President Washington wanted the best men -- Federalist or anti-Federalist -- to be in his administration. The new nation needed strong leadership. George Washington provided it. General Washington's work as the first president will be our story next week.

第一届美国总统乔治·华盛顿希望能由最优秀的人才进入自己的内阁,不论他们是联邦主义者还是反联邦主义者。新国家需要有力的领导,乔治·华盛顿不负众望。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson and Carolyn Weaver. The narrators were Richard Rael 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(5条):
作者:xuding45
The heart and spirt of constitution is a Bill of Rights. People in the nation can have a effive protect, so both federalist and anti-federalist supported the Bill of Rights.
作者:Alumni
Well begun half done. Americans did. The Constitution was written through four months of debating and ten months for ratifying it. it was really a hard process . When the last amendmants among which the Bill of Rights is heart and spirit was made the Constitution was finally born. It is practical and realistic . So are Americans.
作者:资文杰
strong leadership, the best man guarantee
作者:郑烈波
many agreed to help with the job of building the new nation.
作者:hliu
It turns out that both Federalist and anti-Federalist fought for good reasons--rights, freedom and protection. George Washington also has a broad mind.
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