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#74: Polk Decides Not to Seek Second Term in 1848

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ANNOUNCER:

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

James Polk
James Polk

In eighteen forty-eight, while James Polk was president, there was a great constitutional debate in the United States. It arose over slavery in the new territories. Southerners argued that they had the right to take slaves into New Mexico and California. Northerners opposed any further spread of slavery. The question was this: did Congress have the power to control or even ban slavery in the new territories?

1848年,美国总统詹姆斯·波尔克在任期间,美国出现了一场宪法大辩论,辩论焦点是新增土地上的蓄奴问题。南方人认为,他们有权把奴隶带到新墨西哥和加利福尼亚去,但是北方人反对奴隶制度的进一步推广。问题的关键是,国会是否有权决定新增土地上的蓄奴问题。

There seemed to be no answer to the problem. Everyone agreed that governments had to be organized in the territories. But northern and southern leaders could not settle their dispute over slavery.

虽然大家一致认为,新增土地上一定要组建地方政府,但是南、北双方领导人在奴隶制度的分歧上始终无法达成共识。

Now, with this week's program in our series, here are Jack Moyles and Jack Weitzel.

VOICE ONE:

Senator John Clayton of Delaware proposed to the Senate that it name a special committee on the question of slavery in the new territories. Both parties -- the Whigs and the Democrats -- had the same number of senators on the committee. Senator Clayton was its chairman.

德拉瓦州的国会参议员约翰·克莱顿建议参议院任命一个特别委员会,讨论新增土地上的蓄奴问题。委员会里辉格党和民主党、南方人和北方人的力量持平,委员会主席由克莱顿担任。

South and North were equally represented. After six days, Clayton's committee agreed on a compromise bill. It proposed that Oregon be organized as free territory. Slavery there would be illegal.

短短六天后,克莱顿领导的委员会就达成了妥协议案,建议将俄勒冈归化为自由领地,禁止奴隶存在。

And on California and New Mexico, the bill proposed this: they could be organized as territories. But their territorial legislatures would not have the power to act on the issue of slavery. All questions on slavery in these two territories must be decided by the United States Supreme Court.

议案同时提出,将加利福尼亚和新墨西哥归化为领地,地方立法无权触及蓄奴问题,蓄奴问题一律提交美国最高法院裁决。

VOICE TWO:

Chief Justice Roger Taney
Chief Justice Roger Taney

Not everyone believed this plan was a good one. Some northern senators believed that Chief Justice Taney would decide for slavery. Southern senators were just as sure that Taney would decide against slavery.

并非所有人都觉得这项计划是个好主意。北方的一些参议员相信,最高法院首席大法官托尼肯定会支持蓄奴;南方的一些参议员则恰恰相反,觉得托尼势必会反对蓄奴。

Many Whigs in the House of Representatives opposed the plan, because they feared that the political dispute over slavery would destroy the Supreme Court. The Senate approved the compromise bill. But the House rejected it.

国会众议院里的很多辉格党人都反对克莱顿委员会提出的计划,担心蓄奴问题引起的政治纠纷会毁掉最高法院。结果,国会参议院批准了妥协议案,但是议案在众议院遭到了否决。

After long debate, Congress finally approved territorial government for Oregon. And it voted that Oregon should be free territory, with slavery illegal.

经过长时间的辩论,国会终于批准在俄勒冈建立地方政府,并认定俄勒冈为自由土地,禁止蓄奴。

The vote on the Oregon bill was very close. It passed in the Senate only because two men from slave states voted for it. They were Senator Thomas Benton of Missouri and Senator Sam Houston of Texas.

这一法案的表决结果十分接近,议案最终得以通过,完全是因为蓄奴州的两位参议员投了赞成票。他们是密苏里州的托马斯·本顿和德克萨斯州的萨姆·休斯顿。

Senator John C. Calhoun said it was a bad defeat for the South. But what was worse was the fact that it was caused by the votes of two southern senators. Soon after, at the end of August, Congress ended its session. And the nation's leaders prepared for the national election of eighteen forty-eight.

约翰·卡尔霍恩参议员说,这是南方遭受的一次重大失败,更糟糕的是,失败是由两位南方参议员一手造成的。没过多久,国会八月底进入休会期,大家开始着手为1848年大选做准备。

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The country moved quickly into the presidential campaign. President Polk was old, tired and in poor health. He had decided not to try for a second term. Polk felt he had done his duty. During the first days of his administration, he listed the things he planned to do as president.

美国迅速进入大选状态。波尔克总统年迈体衰,决定不参加竞选连任。波尔克觉得,他已经尽到了自己应尽的职责。上任之初,他曾罗列出他在任期内想要实现的一系列目标。

First, he wanted to reduce the tax on imports. Second, he wished to establish the independent treasury, which the Whigs had voted out. Third, he hoped to settle the Oregon border dispute with Britain. And fourth, he wanted to get California for the United States.

第一,他要降低进口关税;第二,他要建立独立财政;第三,他希望解决跟英国有关俄勒冈的边境争端;第四,他希望得到加利福尼亚。

Less than four years later, he had succeeded with each item on his list. The United States and Britain agreed on a compromise in the Oregon dispute. In eighteen forty-six, he was able to establish the independent Treasury again, where the government could keep its own funds. No longer would government funds be kept in private banks.

四年不到,他就实现了所有目标。英、美两国在俄勒冈的领土争端上达成了妥协。1846年,波尔克成功建立了独立财政,让政府有了自己的资金,不再把钱放在私人银行里。

That same year, Polk was able to get Congress to approve a bill that greatly reduced the taxes on imports. And the peace treaty with Mexico gave the United States not only California, but also New Mexico. So, Polk believed he had served his country well.

同一年,波尔克说服国会批准法案,大幅度降低进口关税。此外,跟墨西哥达成的和平协议不仅让美国得到了加利福尼亚,而且还得到了新墨西哥。波尔克觉得,自己为国家做了很多贡献。

VOICE TWO:

Polk, however, had not served his party well. He was not a good politician. He failed to unite the disputing groups of the Democratic Party. What was worse, he let them move even farther apart.

然而,波尔克并没有为自己所在的政党做出巨大的贡献。他不是一个出色的政客,没能团结民主党内意见分歧的派别。更糟糕的是,这些派别之间的距离还在不断拉大。

There seemed to be no strong Democratic candidate who could unite the party. At one extreme were the supporters of former President Van Buren -- New York Democrats opposed to slavery. They were called "Barnburners." They got this name from their political opponents, who charged that they were willing to burn down the barn to get rid of pro-slavery rats.

民主党的一个极端是前总统范布伦的支持者,也就是纽约那些反对蓄奴的民主党人,他们被称为“烧谷仓者”。这是反对者给他们起的外号,因为反对者指责他们为了铲除支持蓄奴的“老鼠”,不惜放火烧掉谷仓。

At the party's other extreme were the Democrats of the South, led by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. In every state, the Democrats were divided between those who supported the administration and those opposed to it.

民主党的另一个极端是以南卡罗来纳州卡尔霍恩为首的南方民主党人。美国各州的民主党人都分成两派,一派支持现政府,一派反对现政府。

VOICE ONE:

The Democrats met in Baltimore in May eighteen forty-eight to choose their presidential candidate. Several men were proposed as possibilities: Polk's Treasury Secretary Robert Walker of Mississippi; John Dix of New York; and Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan.

1848年5月,民主党人在马里兰州的巴尔的摩开会推举总统候选人。人选包括:波尔克政府的财政部长,密西西比的罗伯特·沃克;纽约的约翰·迪克斯,和密西根的参议员刘易斯·卡斯。

On the fourth vote, the convention chose Cass as the party's presidential candidate. Cass was sixty-six years old. He was a middle-of-the-road Democrat. He was a northerner who did not oppose slavery.

经过四轮投票,代表大会最后推举卡斯为民主党总统候选人。卡斯66岁,是民主党中间派,他虽然是北方人,但是并不反对蓄奴。

On the question of slavery in the new territories, Cass believed that the people of the territory should make the decision. The Barnburner Democrats of New York refused to accept Cass as their candidate. They walked out of the Baltimore convention.

在新领土的蓄奴问题上,卡斯认为,应该由当地居民决定。纽约的“烧谷仓者”民主党人拒绝接受卡斯为他们的总统候选人,退出大会以示抗议。

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

General Zachary Taylor
General Zachary Taylor

Senator Henry Clay -- three times the Whig Party choice for president -- expected to be its candidate again. The old members of the party still supported Clay. But young Whigs felt that a new candidate was needed.

与此同时,辉格党前三次的总统候选人亨利·克莱参议员再次成为辉格党看好的候选人。辉格党很多老党员继续支持克莱,但是年轻人却觉得,辉格党需要一个新人。

Some Whig leaders remembered how William Henry Harrison had won the presidency for the party by campaigning as a military hero. The country had a new military hero now. "Old Zach" -- General Zachary Taylor. General Taylor and his men never lost a battle in the Mexican War. Several times, he defeated Mexican forces much larger than his.

辉格党的一些领袖还记得,当年威廉·亨利·哈里森当选,是因为他是战斗英雄。如今,辉格党又出现了一名新的战斗英雄,他就是人称“老扎克”的扎卡里·泰勒将军。泰勒将军和他的部下在墨西哥战争中没打过一次败仗,并曾多次以少胜多,击败墨西哥部队。

After the general's first victory, New York political leader Thurlow Weed happened to meet Taylor's brother on a Hudson River steamboat. That meeting had a most important effect on future events.

泰勒将军首战告捷后,纽约政治领袖瑟洛·威德跟泰勒的弟弟约瑟夫在哈得逊河一艘汽船上不期而遇,这次会面对后来的事态发展起到了重要影响。

VOICE ONE:

Weed asked Joseph Taylor if his brother was a political man. Joseph answered that "Old Zach" was not. He said his brother belonged to no party, that often he did not even vote. He said Zach supported Henry Clay and did not like Andrew Jackson.

威德问约瑟夫,他哥哥扎卡里是否热衷政治。约瑟夫回答说,他对政治不感兴趣。约瑟夫还说,扎卡里不属于任何一个政党,往往连票都不去投,扎卡里支持亨利·克莱,不喜欢安德鲁·杰克逊。

Joseph said his brother felt strongly that American products should be protected against competition from foreign imports. He felt so strongly about it, Joseph said, that he refused to wear any imported clothing. Weed made a quick decision. "Your brother," he said, "will be our next president."

约瑟夫说,扎卡里坚信,美国的产品面对进口产品的竞争,应该受到保护,为此,扎卡里拒绝穿戴任何进口服装。威德当场做出果断决定。他告诉约瑟夫说,你哥哥将成为我们的下一届总统。

"That is preposterous. My brother knows nothing about government or civil affairs. When I tell you," said Joseph Taylor, "that he is not as fit to be president as I am, you will see how foolish this idea is."

约瑟夫·泰勒回答说,“这简直太荒谬了。我哥哥对政府和民间事务一无所知,我告诉你,他跟我一样不适合当总统,你会发现这个主意是多么的愚蠢。”

VOICE TWO:

Weed, however, did not think his proposal was foolish. He began to build support for General Taylor among Whig politicians. When Old Zach first heard of efforts to make him president, he agreed with his brother. The idea was foolish.

威德并不觉得自己的建议是愚蠢的。他开始在辉格党领袖中为推举扎卡里·泰勒寻求支持。“老扎克”第一次听到有人想推举他当总统时,跟弟弟约瑟夫一样,也觉得这是个愚蠢的想法。

"I would not accept such high office," he said, "even if it were offered."

“老扎克”说,就是让我当,我也不会接受如此重任。

This statement he made in June, eighteen forty-six. A month later, he was saying he was not a candidate for president -- and never would be. He said he felt it was wrong to make a military man president. But, a few months later, Taylor changed his mind. He told his son-in-law in December: "I will not say I would not serve if the good people were to be so unwise as to elect me."

他的这番话是1846年6月说的。一个月后,他表示,自己不是总统候选人,永远不会是。他还说,他觉得让军人当总统是错误的。但是几个月后,“老扎克”就改变了主意。他12月的时候告诉自己的女婿说,“如果广大民众傻到选我当总统的话,我不会拒绝接受。”

VOICE ONE:

By July of eighteen forty-seven, Old Zach had made up his mind. He told a friend: "I am satisfied that if the election were held now, nothing could prevent me from becoming president." Senator Clay did not think Taylor had the ability to be president. But Clay knew well how the voters loved a military hero. Senator Clay was seventy years old. He knew this would be his last chance to become president. He worked very hard to get the support of Whig leaders.

1847年7月,“老扎克”已经拿定了主意。他告诉自己的朋友说,“让我满意的是,如果大选现在举行的话,没有什么可以阻止我成为总统。”克莱参议员虽然觉得泰勒不具备担任总统的能力,但他了解选民对战争英雄的爱戴。克莱已经70高龄,他知道,这是他成为总统的最后一次机会了。他竭尽全力争取辉格党领袖的支持。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

The Whig Party held its convention in Philadelphia in June of eighteen forty-eight. Four names were put before the convention: General Zachary Taylor, Henry Clay, General Winfield Scott and Daniel Webster. That will be our story next week.

辉格党1848年6月在费城召开全国代表大会。大会提名的候选人人选包括:扎卡里·泰勒将军、亨利·克莱参议员、温菲尔德·斯科特将军和麻萨诸塞州参议员丹尼尔·韦伯斯特。

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Jack Moyles and Jack Weitzel. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, along with historical images, are 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 #74 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

网友的学习评论(1条):
作者:Alumni
James Polk did his job well at least by regarded himself. during the first days of his administration, he listed the things he planned to do as president. he done them one by one. Now General Zachary Taylor was on the road for the new prisedential election. he was a military leader and at that time people were in favor of the heroes of militery leader who won the battles against enemies for the prisedents of the nation.
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