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美国历史系列:1860年美国总统大选 美国生死存亡的大事件

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American History Series: Hopes, Fears and the Election of 1860 Welcome to the MAKING OF A NATION – American h
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American History Series: Hopes, Fears and the Election of 1860




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

Eighteen sixty was a year of mixed feelings of hope and fear.

Americans had hope for the future, because they would be electing a new president. But they had fear that even a new president could not hold the nation together. The states of the South were very close to leaving the Union over the issue of slavery.

This week in our series, Tony Riggs and Frank Oliver talk about the candidates and the issues in the election of eighteen sixty.

VOICE ONE:

After four years as president, James Buchanan decided not to run again. Buchanan was a Democrat. His party, like the nation, was split over slavery. Southern Democrats wanted the party to support slavery. Northern Democrats refused.

The opposition Republican Party expected to gain votes from dissatisfied Democrats. Republicans had become stronger since the last presidential election in eighteen fifty-six. They felt their candidate would win in eighteen sixty.

VOICE TWO:

The Democratic nominating convention opened in April in Charleston, South Carolina. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois was the leading candidate. He had the support of a majority of convention delegates. But he did not have the two-thirds majority needed to win the nomination.

Many Southern Democrats did not like Stephen Douglas. Some did not trust him. Others did not accept his policies on slavery. Douglas did not oppose slavery or the spread of slavery. However, he said no federal law could make slavery legal in a territory where the people did not want it. This was his policy of "popular sovereignty."

VOICE ONE:

The Southern Democrats who opposed Stephen Douglas were led by William Yancey of Alabama. Yancey wanted to get a pro-slavery statement into the party's platform. He was sure Douglas would not accept the nomination based on such a platform.

If Yancey failed to get the statement he wanted, he would take Southern Democrats out of the convention. And out of the party.

The committee on resolutions considered three platforms. One platform declared that the people of a territory had the right to decide if slavery would be legal or illegal. The second declared that the Supreme Court had that right. And the third declared that no one did -- that slavery was legal everywhere.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

William Yancey spoke to the convention in support of the pro-slavery platform. He said pro-slavery Democrats did not want to destroy the union. But he said someone had to make clear to anti-slavery Democrats that the union would be dissolved if the constitutional rights of slave owners were not honored.

Yancey spoke of the danger of a great slave rebellion. He described it as a sleeping volcano that threatened the lives, property, and honor of the people of the South. He said the actions of the North might cause that volcano to explode.

Another convention delegate answered Yancey's speech. He said Northern Democrats were tired of defending the interests of the South. "Now," he said, "Yancey tells us we must agree that slavery is right. He orders us to hide our faces and eat dirt. Gentlemen of the South," he said, "you mistake us. We will not do it!"

VOICE ONE:

In this atmosphere of tension, it was clear that a pro-slavery platform would not be approved. The Alabama delegation announced that, therefore, it must withdraw. The delegations from the other six states of the Deep South -- Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas -- did the same.

Those fifty men organized their own convention. They approved a pro-slavery platform, but did not nominate anyone for president. They agreed to meet again a few weeks later in Richmond, Virginia.

The Northern Democrats postponed their nomination, too. They agreed to meet again in Baltimore, Maryland.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

The Republican Party held its presidential nominating convention in Chicago, Illinois. There was no question who was the leading candidate. He was the best-known Republican in the country at that time: Senator William Seward of New York.

The Republican platform seemed to contain something for everyone.

For those opposed to slavery, the platform rejected the idea that slave owners had a constitutional right to take slaves into new territories. For foreign-born Americans, it supported their right to full citizenship. For manufacturers, it proposed a new tax on imports to protect American industry. And for those in the northwest, it called for free land for settlers, and federal aid to build roads and canals.

Delegates approved the platform with loud cheers. They would return the next day to nominate their candidate for president.

VOICE ONE:

William Seward was sure he would win the nomination. If not on the first vote, he thought, then on the second. But there was some opposition to Seward. And his campaign organization failed to see its strength.

The candidate of the opposition was Abraham Lincoln.

The Republican convention voted three times. Lincoln gained support on each ballot. But neither he nor Seward received enough votes for the nomination. Then, before a fourth vote could be taken, a delegate from Ohio asked to speak. The big room became silent. "Mister chairman," he said, "I rise to announce the change of four votes of Ohio to Mister Lincoln."

That was enough to give Abraham Lincoln the Republican nomination for president.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

One month later, the Democrats re-opened their nominating convention. Most of the Southern Democrats who walked out of the first meeting came back. Many of their seats at the convention had been given to new delegates. So a new dispute arose over which delegates had the right to be there.

A compromise plan split the seats between old and new delegates. But most of the Southerners rejected it. One by one, a majority of each Southern delegation walked out. The remaining Democrats then voted for a candidate. They chose Stephen Douglas.

Southern Democrats nominated their own candidate, John Breckinridge of Kentucky. And a group called the Constitutional Union Party nominated John Bell.

VOICE ONE:

The election campaign opened in the summer of eighteen sixty. Lincoln was not well-known. So the Republican Party published many books and pamphlets about him. They told the story of a poor farm boy who educated himself and, through hard work and honesty, had become a candidate for president.

Lincoln's supporters organized a loud and colorful campaign, complete with marching bands and signs. Lincoln himself was silent. He said, "It has been my decision since becoming a candidate to make no speeches. I am here only to see you and to let you see me. "

In fact, it was Lincoln's assistants who had advised him to say nothing. They believed he had said enough in the past to make clear his position on the important issues.

VOICE TWO:

Stephen Douglas, on the other hand, campaigned very hard. His health was poor. And he had trouble getting money. But that did not stop him from speaking in almost every state.

Within a few weeks, however, Douglas recognized that he had no real hope of winning. His position on slavery had cost him all support in the South.

Douglas believed that, of the other candidates, Abraham Lincoln had the best chance of winning the presidential election. He also believed pro-slavery extremists would use Lincoln's election as an excuse to take Southern states out of the union. So he turned his efforts to a campaign for the union itself.

He said, "The election of a man to the presidency by the American people, under the Constitution, is no reason for any attempt to dissolve this glorious nation."

VOICE ONE:

Election day was November sixth. The popular vote was close between Lincoln and Douglas. But the electoral vote was not. Lincoln received one hundred eighty. Breckinridge received seventy-two. Bell received thirty-nine. And Douglas received just twelve.

Abraham Lincoln would be the new president of the United States.

He would enter office facing the most serious crisis in American history. For, before his inauguration, southern states finally acted on their threats. They began to leave the union.

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Tony Riggs and Frank Oliver. 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.

这次选举几乎是美国内战(南北战争)的导火索,林肯获得的180票中南部一票都没有,这是一次关乎美国生死存亡的重大历史事件!!!!

1860年美国总统大选,共和党总统候选人亚伯拉罕•林肯个性温和但柔中有刚,他的政治态度非常明朗,维护联邦统一和最高权威的立场毫不含糊。
林肯的当选使南部主义分子如坐针毡。南卡罗来纳州首先发难,于1860年12月20日迫不及待地宣布退出联邦,狂妄地宣称:“南卡罗来纳将恢复它在世界各国的位置。”紧接着密西西比、阿拉巴马、佐治亚、佛罗里达、路易斯安娜和得克萨斯等南部6州也于1861年1月上旬相继退出,并于2月4日成立美利坚诸州同盟,简称“南部同盟”(美利坚邦联),推举临时总统和副总统,并通过一部仓促草就的临时宪法。后来,又有弗吉尼亚、阿肯色、田纳西和北卡罗来纳4个州在内战打响后加入。这样,当时南部的15个州,有11个州脱离联邦,加入“南部同盟”,与联邦分庭抗礼,只有位于南北交界的肯塔基、马里兰、特拉华、密苏里(西弗吉尼亚于1863年从弗吉尼亚独立出来辟为新州)等4个边界州未脱离联邦,处于观望之中。

南部不惜铤而走险,其前辈和北部同胞共同用鲜血和生命换来的联邦国家,当然是由奴隶制巨大经济利益驱使,但同时他们也有一个误解,以为北部不会轻易动用武力。因为在当时,棉花是南部的主要出口农产品,并且占全国出口总值的57%。在某种意义上,没有奴隶制就没有棉花;没有棉花,北部纺织工业立即停摆。事实上,林肯政府也确实作了退让。在就任演说中,林肯就表现了极大的宽容和克制。但这种态度,被南方视为委曲求全,所以他们悍然于1861年4月12日,对准联邦在南卡罗来纳的萨姆特要塞,打响了内战的第一炮。

历史证明,南方分离势力低估了林肯为维护联邦完整不惜一战的决心。面对南北的现实,林肯做出了用战争维护联邦的最后决定。

从当时的形势和林肯政府的举措看,美国内战主要是一场统一与的政治较量,何时以何种方式解决奴隶制问题,是要服从于这一总目标的。1865年5月26日结束的美国内战,重新确认了联邦主权的最高权威,刺激了全国经济的一体化发展。相应地,确立了所有美国公民首先是美国的国家公民、其次才是各州的公民的原则。松散的联邦变成了一个真正意义上统一而强盛的国家。美国内战同时解决了自1776年以来一直困扰全国的奴隶制问题。内战期间解放了黑奴,并于战后通过宪法第13条修正案从法律上正式废除了奴隶制。战后的南部重建,用法律手段确认战争期间用刀与剑砍倒的东西,南部各州通过新的州宪法,确认联邦的最高权威,之后方得以重新被接纳,回到联邦。内战还考验了美国联邦政府在非常时期维护国家统一和民主体制的能力,强化了联邦政府的权威和影响。

但是,这场历时4年余的战争是空前惨烈的。南北双方同室操戈,共有62万人死于疆场,其数量超过美国历届战争的总和。南部在战争中受到重创:四分之一白人青壮年阵亡,家畜死亡五分之二,农业机械、工厂、铁路损坏一半,财产损失近三分之二,总计50亿美元。至于战争导致的政治代价和心理代价,就很难准确衡量了。美国南部种植园奴隶主一意孤行所引发的这场联邦的战争,不仅在美国留下了深深的创伤,至今仍难以痊愈的,而且留给全人类的教训也是深刻的。

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