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美国历史系列:风起云涌的废奴运动成为政治力量

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American History Series: The Rise of the Movement Against Slavery迅雷专用高速下载 Welcome to the MAKING OF A N
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American History Series: The Rise of the Movement Against Slavery


迅雷专用高速下载

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

In eighteen forty, as the administration of Martin Van Buren came closer to an end, there was a widespread feeling that he had not been a strong president. He seemed unable to make the people understand his policies. The opposition Whig Party was happy over Van Buren's failures.

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant describe how the Whigs saw an excellent chance in the upcoming election.

VOICE ONE:

The Whig leader in the Senate was Henry Clay of Kentucky. Clay told a friend he was sure he would be called on to serve as the Whig candidate for president. Other Whig leaders were not so sure. They did not question Clay's ability to be president. But he had been a candidate both in eighteen twenty-four and eighteen thirty-two. And he had lost both times.

Then there was a growing political force in the United States that would not be helpful to Clay's candidacy. That was the abolitionist movement, which opposed slavery. Abolitionists did not like Clay, because he owned slaves.

VOICE TWO:

The dispute over slavery seemed to have been laid to rest for a time. But during the eighteen thirties, it rose to the surface again. A major reason why the dispute came alive again was cotton. Cotton plants spread across the states of the south.

Cotton production had grown so heavily that it gave the south a one-crop economy. Cotton depended on the labor of slaves. By the eighteen thirties, cotton planters believed that without slavery, the whole economic system of the south would lie in ruins. To them, slavery was no longer just a question of right or wrong. It was a necessity for survival.

VOICE ONE:

Cotton made the agricultural south economically dependent on the industrial north. Northern ships carried southern cotton to the markets of Europe. Manufactured goods needed in the South came from the North. The South put so much time and energy into growing cotton, that it failed to give much thought to developing industries of its own.

The situation deeply troubled the political leaders of the South. What made things worse was the fact that most of the federal government's financial aid for public works went to the North.

Then there was the old dispute over import taxes. Taxes on foreign goods mostly helped the manufacturers of the North. The taxes were to be lowered in eighteen forty-two. But that was some time in the future. No one could be sure what would happen then. Such was the general political and economic picture in the United States when the abolitionist movement began to make itself felt.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

In the beginning, the abolitionist movement was organized by religious groups. The members of these groups believed there could be no compromise with evil. They felt that slavery was evil. So slavery must go.

The eighteen thirties saw the birth of anti-slavery societies in New York and New England. The societies published newspapers and pamphlets. They began to flood the country with pamphlets and anti-slavery petitions. The South tried to stop the flow of this anti-slavery literature across the borders of southern states. The Abolitionists, in turn, declared that such actions violated freedom of the press and the constitutional right of petition. This was the beginning of a long, bitter struggle. It lasted for twenty years. It finally split the Union.

VOICE ONE:

The abolitionists had not as yet received major support from the people of the North. Many northerners were hostile to them. But in eighteen thirty-six, the House of Representatives declared that it would not listen to any anti-slavery petitions. This became known as the "gag rule."

The Senate did not pass such a rule. But the Senate still made it almost impossible for anti-slavery petitions to come before it. Former President John Quincy Adams, who was then a congressman, rose up in protest. He was not an abolitionist. But he led a campaign against the gag rule. Adams said the rule was a violation of the constitutional right to petition Congress. The gag rule made great numbers of people in the North very angry. Because of it, these people began to support the abolitionist movement.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The increasing bitterness over the issue of slavery put Whig leader Henry Clay in a difficult position. Clay was under pressure to make a decision on slavery, on the abolitionists, and on the southern extremists.

Where did he stand? Senator Clay had always hated slavery, although he owned some slaves himself. In a Senate speech in eighteen thirty-three, he called slavery "this great evil ... the darkest spot in the map of our country."

Clay feared that the dispute over slavery might destroy him as a political leader. And, what was worse, he was afraid that it might destroy the nation. Clay was an extremely strong believer in the Union.

VOICE ONE:

Clay opposed violent action. He thought the slow growth of public opinion was better than violence in bringing about a solution to slavery. Clay hated the abolitionists and the great noise they were beginning to make over slavery. He said they were interfering with a southern institution and were forcing slavery into politics. Slavery, he declared, did not belong in politics.

Still, Clay was a national leader. He knew it would be bad to stand too strongly opposed to the growing abolitionist movement. Clay also opposed the southern senators who tried to prevent discussion of slavery. He said their position was emotional and extreme. It was as bad as that of the abolitionists.

John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
VOICE TWO:

The Senate did, in fact, discuss slavery, in a general way. It was concerned about the legal position of the federal government in relation to slavery. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina offered a resolution for consideration. This is what he said:

The Union was created by an agreement among the states. Each state had the constitutional right to complete control over its own institutions. It was the job -- the duty -- of the government in Washington to protect that right. That meant protection against any interference in the institution of slavery.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Calhoun was most forceful when it came to slavery in the District of Columbia and in the territories. He declared that any federal, state, or private interference with slavery in those places was a direct and dangerous attack on the interests of slave states. Calhoun said the South must not surrender an inch to the abolitionist movement. "If we do," he said, "we are gone."

VOICE TWO:

Senator Clay did not like such extreme talk about states' rights. He became especially angry when states talked about separating from the Union, instead of trying to solve problems together.

"Separation," Clay said, "is a terrible word. One's ears should not accept it. I desire to see -- in continued safety and prosperity -- this Union, and no other Union. I am opposed to all separate confederacies and to all sectional conventions. This Union, this government, will do nothing to attack the rights and security of the slave-holding states."

VOICE ONE:

Clay then offered his own resolution for Senate consideration. This is what he said:

Congress had no legal power over slavery within the states. Therefore, petitions for the abolition of slavery must be rejected, because Congress had no constitutional right to act on them. The Senate approved Clay's resolution. It rejected the one offered by Calhoun.

VOICE TWO:

Clay had acted as he did because he wanted to settle the dispute, and because he loved the Union. He did so for personal political reasons, too. Clay had defended the constitutional right of petition. That pleased the North. But he also had used a legal move to block the Abolitionist Movement from bringing anti-slavery petitions before Congress. That pleased the South.


Clay believed he had protected his national position. He told a friend: "I have acted in such a way that I lost nothing, either in the South or the North."

VOICE ONE:

As the national election of eighteen forty got closer, the Whig Party felt more hopeful. They began to believe they could defeat President Van Buren in his attempt to win a second term. But they also began to turn away from Henry Clay as a presidential candidate. The election of eighteen forty will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are online, along with historical images, at en8848.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - an American history series in VOA Special English.

反奴隶制运动风起云涌

1840年马丁.范布伦政府的任期即将结束,美国人普遍感觉到他并不是一位强有力的总统,他似乎没有办法让人民了解他的政策。反对党辉格党看到范布伦的失败很高兴。本周,我们向你讲述辉格党在下一届总统选举中是如何抓住这一绝好的机会的。

辉格党在参议员的领导人是肯塔基州的亨利.克莱。克莱对一位朋友说,作为辉格党的总统候选人,他确信能够当选总统。然而其他辉格党的领导人对此却没有这样的信心,他们不怀疑克莱的能力,但他是1824年和1832年的总统候选人,他在这两次竞选中都失败了,而且美国正在成长的一支政治力量对克莱并不会有什么帮助。这支政治力量就是风起云涌的废奴运动,废奴运动者并不喜欢克莱,因为他本身就拥有奴隶。

有关奴隶的争论一度似乎沉寂了,但在十九世纪三十年代,它又再次兴起。一个主要的原因就是因为棉花。棉花种植遍布整个南方,棉花的产量增长很快,它是南方农业经济的一个支柱。种植棉花依靠大量的奴隶劳动力。到十九世纪三十年代,棉花种植主认为,如果没有奴隶,那么南方整个经济将会崩溃。对于他们而言,拥有奴隶不再是一个对与错的问题,而是生存之所必须。

种植棉花使南方的农业经济依赖于北方的工业经济,北方的船只将南方的棉花运往欧洲市场,南方所需要的工业制成品都来自北方。南方把大量的时间和精力都集中在了棉花的种植上,从而使他们没有更多地考虑在南方发展自己的工业。南方的一些政治领导人对此深感忧虑。更为严重的是,联邦政府的财政资金更多地投入到北方的基础设施建设上。另外还有一个老问题,那就是进口关税的问题,向外国商品征收进口关税目的是为了扶持北方的工业。进口关税将在1842年降低,但这是将来的事,没有人能够确信将来会发生什么事情。这就是废奴运动开始时美国的政治和经济现状。

一开始,废奴运动是由宗教团体组织发起的。这些宗教组织的成员认为他们不能与邪恶相妥协,他们觉得奴隶制就是邪恶,所以,奴隶制必须取消。在十九世纪三十年代,纽约和新英格兰地区出现了反对奴隶制的社会组织,这些社会组织出版报纸和小册子,他们开始带着这些废除奴隶制的小册子和废除奴隶制的请愿书到全国各地宣传。南方试图阻止这些反对奴隶制的文学作品通过边境流入南方各州。于是,废奴主义者宣称南方的这种行为侵犯了新闻出版自由和宪法所赋予的请愿的权利,这就是漫长的艰苦的反对奴隶制斗争的开始,这场反对奴隶制的斗争持续了12年,它最终使合众国分裂。

废奴主义者刚开始并没有得到北方人民的重要支持,许多北方人对这些废奴主义者抱有敌意,但在1836年,国会众议院宣布将不再受理反对奴隶制的请愿,这就是著名的“gag rule”(禁止就某一问题进行公开辩论的规定),参议院虽然没有通过这样的规定,但参议院也尽可能让废奴请愿书不出现在他们的面前。前总统约翰.昆西.亚当斯现在仍然是国会议员,他站出来表示抗议,他不是废奴主义者,但他领导了一个反对“gag rule”的活动。亚当斯说,这项规定侵犯了宪法所赋予的公民可以向国会请愿的权利。这项规定使得大多数北方人很气愤,正因为如此,这些人开始支持废奴运动。

日益恶化的奴隶制问题使得辉格党领导人亨利.克莱处境艰难。克莱迫于压力,必须就奴隶制、废奴主义者和南方极端分子表态,他会站在哪一方呢?克莱参议员向来憎恨奴隶制,尽管他自己也拥有一些奴隶。1833年他在参议院的一次演讲中,他将奴隶制称之为 “最大的恶魔,…是我们国家地图上最黑暗的污点。”克莱担心,针对奴隶制的争论会破坏他作为一个政治领导人的形象,而且更可怕的,他担心有关奴隶制的争论会毁灭整个国家。克莱坚定地认为,国家必须团结。

克莱反对暴力行为,他认为在解决奴隶制问题上,民意的逐渐发展要比暴力更为有效。克莱憎恨废奴主义者和他们所带来的噪声,他们正在奴役他人。他说,这些废奴主义者防碍了南方的社会制度,并强行将奴隶制带进了政治领域。他宣称,奴隶制问题不属于政治范畴。克莱是一位国家领导人,他知道,他如此坚决地反对正在日益兴起的废奴运动将给他带来很坏的影响。克莱也反对那些试图阻止讨论奴隶制问题的南方参议员们,他说,他们的立场是很情绪化也很极端,这与废奴主义者一样有害。

事实上,参议院正按通常的方式在讨论奴隶制问题,这涉及到联邦政府关于奴隶制的法律地位问题。南方参议员约翰.C.卡尔豪参议院提出了一项决议案,他说:“合众国是由各州之间的一项协议而产生的,宪法赋予每个州有完全控制自己局势的权力,华盛顿政府的任务,也是职责,那就是保护这种权力。他的这种保护的意思就是反对以任何方式干涉奴隶制。

当哥伦比亚特区及其周边地区在争论奴隶制问题时,卡尔豪的影响力是很大的。他宣称,联邦政府、各州或个人这些地方奴隶制问题的任何干涉,都是直接危害实行奴隶制各州的利益。卡尔豪说,南方各州绝不能让废奴主义者进入半步,他说,“如果我们让他们进入半步,那么我们就去死吧。”

克莱参议员不像卡尔豪这样极端地谈论各州的权利,当一些州在谈论从合众国中分离出来,而不是想办法解决问题确保团结时,他特别气愤,“分裂”,克莱说到,“这是一个可怕的词,任何人都不会接受的,我希望继续看到我们的这个国家安全和繁荣,而不是别的什么国家,我反对任何分裂联邦的图谋和所有重组联邦的图谋。我们这个合众国、我们这个政府将不会采取任何措施来攻击拥有实行奴隶制的各州的权利和安全。”

克莱然后也向参议院提出了他自己的一个决议案,他说:“国会对对各个州内部是否实施奴隶制度没有合法的权力,因此,废奴的请愿必须予以拒绝,因为宪法没有授予国会这样的权力来就奴隶制问题采取行动。参议院批准了克莱的决议案,否决了卡尔豪提出的决议案。

克莱采取了他所想采取的行动,因为他想解决有关奴隶制的争端,因为他深深地热爱着这个国家。他这么做也出于个人的政治原因。克莱为宪法有关请愿的权利作了辩护,这满足了北方人的要求,但他也通过法律手段阻止了废奴主义者向国会提交废奴请愿书,这也满足了南方人的要求。克莱认为他保护了他的国家。他对他的一个朋友说:“我以这种方式采取行动,无论是在北方还是南方,我什么也没有失去。”

随着1840年全国大选的临近,辉格党觉得希望越来越大,他们开始认为他们将击败试图连任的现任总统马丁.范布伦,但他们也开始讨厌作为该党总统候选人的亨利.克莱。有关1840年的大选,我们下周再讲。

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