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#85: The Effort to Make Kansas a Slave State

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

Early in eighteen fifty-seven, the United States Supreme Court announced one of its most important rulings. The high court decided the case of a slave named Dred Scott.

1857年初,美国联邦最高法院针对黑奴斯科特一案宣布了重要裁决。

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Leo Scully tell us about the ruling, and the continuing national debate over slavery.

VOICE ONE:

Dred Scott
Dred Scott

Dred Scott lived in Missouri, where slavery was legal. Then he was sold to a man who took him to Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was not legal. After four years, he was returned to Missouri. Dred Scott demanded his freedom, because of the years he had spent in places where slavery was illegal. Congress had banned slavery in those places under the Missouri Compromise Act of Eighteen Twenty.

德雷德斯科特原本生活在密苏里州,密苏里州是一个蓄奴州。后来,他被卖给一名军医,随主人前往伊利诺伊和威斯康辛居住了四年,后来又回到密苏里。根据国会1820年通过的密苏里协定,伊利诺伊和威斯康辛不实行奴隶制。斯科特提出,既然他在自由地区居住过四年,就应该成为自由人。他把官司一路打到联邦最高法院。

The Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not have the power to close territories to slavery. It said the Missouri Compromise was a violation of the United States Constitution, and that Dred Scott was not a free man.

最高法院裁决,国会无权禁止奴隶进入任何地区,1820年的密苏里协定违反了美国宪法,斯科特不能成为自由人。

VOICE TWO:

James Buchanan
James Buchanan

James Buchanan was sworn-in as president at the time of the Dred Scott case. Buchanan believed the Supreme Court's decision would put an end to the dispute over slavery. He believed that Americans -- North and South -- would accept the decision as the final word in the dispute.

詹姆斯布坎南宣誓就职美国总统正赶上最高法院宣布裁决。布坎南以为,不论是南方人还是北方人都会接受最高法院的裁决,给奴隶制度引起的争议划上句号。

This did not happen. The Dred Scott decision did not calm the storm that divided the nation. Instead, it increased its fury.

然而事与愿违,斯科特一案的裁决不仅没有平息风暴,反而激化了矛盾。

VOICE ONE:

New trouble threatened to break out in the territory of Kansas between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers. In the past few years, the two sides had argued and fought over their opinions. They even had formed two separate governments. The pro-slavery forces controlled the legal government. The anti-slavery forces controlled an opposition government which had no power.

堪萨斯地区定居者分为两派,一派支持蓄奴,一派反对蓄奴。过去几年里,两派势力互不相让,甚至各自组建政府,合法政府由支持蓄奴的人控制,反对派政府则代表废奴主义者的声音。

Supporters of slavery wanted to organize a constitutional convention that could put Kansas into the Union as a slave state. The pro-slavery legislature passed a bill calling for such a convention. The bill gave supporters of slavery every chance to control the election of delegates to the convention. And it gave the convention complete freedom to make its own rules. The bill provided no way for the people of Kansas to vote on their own constitution.

支持蓄奴的人希望召开宪法大会,让堪萨斯成为美国的一个奴隶州。他们通过议案,由蓄奴主义者决定大会代表人选,让大会享受立法的全权自由,剥夺了堪萨斯居民对自己宪法的表决权。

VOICE TWO:

A Civil War period photograph of John Geary
A Civil War period photograph of John Geary

The governor of the Kansas territory, John Geary, vetoed the bill. But the legislature quickly overruled his veto. Pro-slavery men called for Geary to get out of Kansas. Some talked of shooting him if he did not leave.

堪萨斯地区的总督约翰吉尔里否决了议案,但是他的否决马上又被议会推翻。支持蓄奴的人让吉尔里滚出堪萨斯,有些人甚至声称,如果他不肯离开的话,就要开枪打死他。

Governor Geary had been living under extreme tension for months. He had worked hard to keep Kansas peaceful. He was angry, because he could get no help from the federal government. He sent his resignation to President Buchanan.

几个月来,堪萨斯地区的局势极端紧张。吉尔里总督努力维持当地的和平,但是丝毫得不到联邦政府的支持,这种情况让他感到十分气馁,因此向布坎南总统提交了辞呈。

Then the former governor spoke publicly. He said most of the settlers in Kansas were peace-loving people. He said only a small group was responsible for the trouble there. Geary said a few powerful men hoped to make Kansas a slave state. If this failed, Geary said, they hoped their actions would produce civil war.

吉尔里辞职后公开表示,堪萨斯的大多数定居者都是热爱和平的,只有极少数人制造事端。他还说,一小群权贵希望让堪萨斯成为美国的一个奴隶州,如果失败,他们就希望挑起内战。

VOICE ONE:

President Buchanan appointed a new governor for Kansas. Buchanan told him that slavery in the territory must be decided on the votes of the people of the territory. And he said the people must be given a fair chance to approve or reject a constitution for statehood.

布坎南总统任命了一个新总督,告诉他说,堪萨斯地区奴隶制度的存废一定要由当地居民投票决定,当地居民必须享有公平的机会,决定接受还是拒绝让堪萨斯成为美国一个州的新宪法。

The new governor arrived in Kansas at the end of May, eighteen fifty-seven. He explained his policies in a speech to the people of Kansas. The new governor promised to enforce the laws of the pro-slavery legislature -- but only those laws which were constitutional. He urged everyone to vote in the coming election of delegates to the constitutional convention.

1857年5月底,堪萨斯地区新总督走马上任。他向堪萨斯居民发表政策讲话,保证执行蓄奴主义者掌控下的议会所通过的法律,但前提条件是,这些法律必须符合美国宪法。他敦促所有人参加投票,推举即将召开的宪法大会的代表人选。

He said he was hopeful that the convention would offer its constitution to the people for their approval or rejection. He added that Congress would not accept Kansas as a slave state, or a free state, until the people had voted on the question of slavery.

新总督说,他希望宪法大会能够产生宪法草案,让堪萨斯居民投票表决。他补充说,堪萨斯居民就奴隶制存废的问题表决前,国会不会让堪萨斯成为一个州,不论是奴隶州还是自由州。

VOICE TWO:

On June fifteenth, the election was held for delegates to the constitutional convention. Most anti-slavery men did not vote, because their names had been kept off the voting lists by pro-slavery officials. Others refused to vote, because they believed the election was unfair.

1857年6月15号,定居者投票推举大会代表。然而,大多数废奴主义者并没有参加投票,原因有两个:要么是主张蓄奴的政府官员把他们的名字从选民名单上删除了,要么是他们自己觉得选举不公正,所以拒绝投票。

Sixty delegates were elected. All supported slavery. They planned to meet in the autumn to begin work on a constitution for Kansas.

最后选举产生的六十名宪法大会代表,全都支持蓄奴。他们计划秋天开会,筹措起草堪萨斯地区的宪法草案。

Most of the delegates were wild, rough men who found it difficult to read and write. But these men were sure of one thing. They wanted Kansas to be a slave state.

这次制宪大会的大多数代表都是粗人,不读书,不识字,但是有一点毫无疑问,他们都希望让堪萨斯成为一个奴隶州。

VOICE ONE:

Territory of Kansas
Territory of Kansas

The delegates began the constitution by claiming that the right of property was higher than any constitutional power. They said a slave-owner had as much right to his property as the owner of any other kind of property.

他们撰写的宪法草案一上来就宣称,私有财产所有权高于宪法,奴隶主对奴隶的所有权丝毫不亚于人们对任何其他财产的所有权。

Then they wrote the different parts of the document. One part of the constitution severely limited the right of the legislature to free slaves. Another part barred free negroes from entering Kansas. And another prevented the constitution from being changed for seven years.

宪法草案的其它内容包括:严格限制给奴隶自由;禁止获得自由的黑奴进入堪萨斯;规定宪法七年内不得更改。

VOICE TWO:

Most of the delegates to the Kansas constitutional convention wanted to send the document directly to Congress for approval. They did not want to give the people of Kansas a chance to vote on it. They were sure that the majority of the population would reject a constitution that made slavery legal.

制宪大会的大多数代表都希望直接将宪法草案递交国会批准,他们不想让堪萨斯居民就草案投票表决,因为他们相信,一份承认奴隶制度合法性的宪法一定会遭到大多数居民的反对。

Some delegates, however, knew that Congress would not approve statehood for Kansas unless the people voted on the constitution. The two sides finally agreed on a compromise.

不过,也有少数代表知道,除非宪法草案得到堪萨斯居民的支持,否则国会不会批准堪萨斯成为美国的一个州。两派势力最终达成如下妥协。

VOICE ONE:

The constitution itself would not be offered to the people. Instead, the people would vote only on the question of slavery. They could vote for the constitution with slavery or the constitution without slavery.

那就是:堪萨斯居民可以就奴隶制度的存废投票表决,但是不就宪法草案本身投票。

If the voters approved the constitution with slavery, then Kansas would be open to new slaves. If they approved the constitution without slavery, then Kansas would be closed to new slaves. Slaves already in the territory could be kept there.

如果选民赞成奴隶制度,堪萨斯就对新的奴隶开放;如果选民不赞成奴隶制度,堪萨斯就不再接受新的奴隶,但是现有奴隶可以继续保留。

This compromise brought a cry of anger from opponents of slavery in Kansas. They said the constitutional convention had only given them the right to vote for limited slavery or unlimited slavery. It had not given them the right to vote for freedom.

这一妥协方案遭到了堪萨斯地区废奴主义者的强烈反对。他们指出,宪法大会这样做,让他们只能就有限的奴隶制度还是无限的奴隶制度进行投票,彻底剥夺了废除奴隶制度的自由选项。

VOICE TWO:

President Buchanan had promised the people of Kansas that they would have a fair chance to vote on their constitution. But members of his cabinet told him to forget this promise. They said Americans were tired of the dispute in Kansas and would accept any settlement.

布坎南总统曾保证,要让堪萨斯居民有机会就自己的宪法投票表决。但是内阁官员告诉他说,不要去管先前的承诺,因为美国人民已经厌倦了堪萨斯争端,会赞成任何解决方案。

They told Buchanan that approval of the constitution would end the Kansas problem. It would satisfy the South, they said, and the North would soon forget about Kansas.

他们还告诉布坎南说,宪法草案的通过就意味着堪萨斯问题的解决,南方人会感到满意,用不了多长时间,北方人就会将堪萨斯的事情抛在脑后。

Under this pressure, President Buchanan made his decision. He would ask Congress to accept the pro-slavery Kansas constitution and make the territory a slave state.

布坎南迫于内阁压力,终于决定要求国会接受堪萨斯宪法草案,让堪萨斯成为一个奴隶州。

VOICE ONE:

In Kansas, the vote on slavery was held. Most opponents of slavery did not vote. They were waiting until they could vote against the complete statehood constitution.

与此同时,堪萨斯地区就奴隶制度的存废进行投票。大多数废奴主义者没有投票,坚持要对整个宪法草案表决。

Many of the votes were illegal. Still, Kansas officials declared that slavery had been approved. They urged Congress to make Kansas a state under this condition. Shortly after, President Buchanan sent Congress a similar message.

尽管很多票都不合法,堪萨斯官员还是宣布,奴隶制度得到了批准。他们敦促国会立即接受堪萨斯成为一个州。没过多久,布坎南总统也向国会传达了同样的意思。

Buchanan's chief opponent on the statehood bill was a member of his own Democratic Party, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois. Douglas did not oppose slavery. But he believed that the people of a territory had the right to make their own decision to accept or reject slavery.

布坎南的主要反对者是同属民主党的伊利诺伊州参议员史蒂文道格拉斯。道格拉斯并不反对奴隶制度,但是他坚信,堪萨斯当地人民在这个问题上,有权做出自己的取舍。

VOICE TWO:

Stephen Douglas
Stephen Douglas

Stephen Douglas united other Democrats and members of the anti-slavery Republican Party to fight against the bill in the Senate. He lost. The Senate approved the bill to make Kansas a state where slavery was legal.

道格拉斯参议员联合了参议院里的民主党人和反对奴隶制度的共和党人,一起反对堪萨斯议案,结果以失败告终。参议院最终还是同意接受堪萨斯做为一个奴隶州加入联邦。

The House of Representatives, however, rejected the bill. Instead, it approved a bill to let the people of Kansas vote again on their statehood constitution. The Senate approved a compromise version of this House bill.

然而,国会众议院拒绝接受这份议案,并决定,要由堪萨斯人民就宪法草案进行投票,参议院没办法,只好妥协。

VOICE ONE:

So the people of Kansas got another chance to show that they did not want a pro-slavery constitution. They voted and rejected the constitution by a large majority.

这样一来,堪萨斯当地的居民终于赢得了表决权,最终以压倒性多数票否决了制宪大会提出的主张蓄奴的宪法草案。

The pro-slavery statehood constitution was dead. Kansas would continue as a territory for a few more years. But there would be no further attempt to make it a slave state.

堪萨斯最终没能做为一个奴隶州加入联邦。

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Leo Scully. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs can be found, along with historical images, at www.unsv.com. And you can follow our series on Twitter at twitter.com/voalearnenglish, spelled as one word. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

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