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美国历史系列:亚当斯签署《外籍法》和《惩治煽乱法》

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US History: Adams Avoids War With France, Signs Alien and Sedition Acts迅雷专用高速下载 Welcome to THE MAKING
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US History: Adams Avoids War With France, Signs Alien and Sedition Acts


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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – an American history series in VOA Special English. This week on our program, we continue the story of America's second president, John Adams. Here are Maurice Joyce and Richard Rael.

VOICE TWO:

John Adams took office in seventeen ninety-seven. He had served eight years as vice president under President George Washington. Now, state electors had chosen him to govern the new nation.

Adams was an intelligent man. He was a true patriot and an able diplomat. But he did not like party politics. This weakness caused trouble during his presidency. For, during the late seventeen hundreds, two political parties struggled for power. He was caught in the middle.

VOICE ONE:

Adams was a member of the Federalist Party. As president, he should have been party leader. But this position belonged to a man who really knew how to get and use political power, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton served as treasury secretary under President Washington. Now, he was a private citizen, a lawyer in New York City.

Through the Federalist Party, Hamilton continued to have great influence over the national government. Federalists loyal to Hamilton controlled the Congress. Even President Adams' three cabinet ministers were loyal to Hamilton. In fact, they worked together against the new president.

This political situation made Adams' term in office very difficult. Yet strangely, it also led to the end of Federalist Party power.

VOICE TWO:

Two major issues marked Adams' presidency. One concerned foreign policy. The other concerned the rights of citizens.

The first involved America's relations with France.

Federalists, in general, were men of wealth and position. They did not believe in democracy, rule by the people. For this reason, they strongly opposed the revolution in France. They were horrified by the execution of the French king and queen. Federalists wanted an alliance with Britain. Over time, they demanded war with France.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

American support for France came from the opposition party, the Republicans. The leader of that party was the country's vice president, Thomas Jefferson.

France helped America win its war for independence from Britain. The friendship formed during the war continued afterward when Thomas Jefferson served as Minister to Paris. Relations began to turn bad as soon as he returned home.

The man who replaced him openly supported the French monarchy -- the losing side in the revolution. After the revolution succeeded, the new French government demanded that he leave.

VOICE TWO:

Most Federalists did not want good relations with France. They used their power to prevent the government from sending a pro-French representative to Paris. They also searched for any signs of insult, any excuse to declare war.

President Adams did not agree with the majority of Federalists. He wanted to improve relations with France through negotiations. Yet he said the United States would strengthen its defenses. We will be ready, he said, if war comes.

VOICE ONE:

One incident, especially, brought the two nations close to war. It is known in American history books as the "X, Y and Z Affair."

President Adams had appointed a committee of three ministers to negotiate with the French government. French officials kept these three men waiting for several weeks. While they waited, they had a visit from three Frenchmen -- later called X, Y and Z.

X, Y and Z told the Americans that France would sign an agreement if the United States did three things.

It had to lend the French government twelve million dollars. It had to apologize for anti-French statements in a recent message from President Adams to the American Congress. And it had to pay the French foreign minister two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

VOICE TWO:

The American ministers were willing to pay. But they wanted to sign the agreement first. The French foreign minister refused. First the money, then the agreement.

The Federalists finally had the excuse they were looking for. France had insulted the United States. We must answer the insult. The only answer was war. Federalist newspapers added fuel to the fire by publishing anti-French propaganda. In a few places, pro-war groups became violent.

The Republican Party could do little. Even Thomas Jefferson was helpless. He remained in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States at that time. But he had few friends there anymore.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Congress quickly passed laws to create a permanent army and navy. It also approved new taxes to pay for them.

Two new laws passed by a small vote. But they greatly increased the powers of the national government. The laws were known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. Federalists said they were necessary to protect national security. But, in effect, the Federalists used them to weaken the power of the Republican Party.

VOICE TWO:

Under the Alien Act, the president could accuse any foreigner living in the United States of being a threat to national security. He could order that person out of the country.

The act also increased the time a foreigner had to wait to become a citizen, from five years to fourteen years.

Republicans were furious. Most foreigners, when they became naturalized citizens, joined the Republican Party.

Republicans argued that the Alien Act violated the Constitution. They said it gave the government more powers than were stated in the Constitution. Federalists said the act was Constitutional. They said the Constitution gave the government the right to defend the country against foreign aggression.

VOICE ONE:

The other law, the Sedition Act, barred the publication of anything that might incite public hostility against the government.

Republicans argued that this act violated Americans' Constitutional rights of free speech and a free press. Federalists, once again, defended it as necessary for national security.

The Federalists tried to use the Sedition Act to quiet Republican critics of President Adams' administration. About twenty-five persons were charged under the Sedition act. These included several leading Republican newspapermen and a Republican member of Congress.

Some of the men were tried and found guilty and sent to prison. But other Republicans took their places in the fight against the act. The Federalist plan to stop criticism did not succeed.

VOICE TWO:

President Adams had signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law. He believed they were necessary to protect the United States at a time when war with France was still possible.

Then, in early seventeen ninety-nine, Adams received several reports that France was ready to reopen negotiations on improving relations. He immediately nominated a new minister to France. Federalist senators threatened to reject the nomination. In the end, Adams agreed to nominate a committee of three ministers. The Senate approved them.

VOICE ONE:

It was many months before the three men went to France to negotiate the agreement. And it was many more months before they completed their work. But they did so on September thirtieth, eighteen hundred.

After several years of bitter political struggle at home, President Adams finally prevented war with France. Later he wrote: "There is one thing I would like to be remembered for more than anything else. I gave myself the task of making peace with France. And I succeeded."

VOICE TWO:

The year eighteen hundred was another presidential election year in the United States. The Federalist Party appeared to be dying. It failed in its effort to force the nation into war with France. And it failed to silence its critics through the Alien and Sedition Acts. Party leaders knew the election would be their last chance to keep political power.

The Republican Party had more popular support. It also had gained an increasing number of seats in state legislatures and the national Congress. Party leader Thomas Jefferson was sure to be elected president -- unless the Federalists could find a way to change the electoral process.

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Our program was written by Christine Johnson. The narrators were Maurice Joyce and Richard Rael. Join us again for THE MAKING OF A NATION, an American history series in VOA Special English. Next week our subject will be the election of eighteen hundred. Transcripts, podcasts and MP3s of our programs can be found at voaspecialenglish.com.

P.S  :  Adams总统任期内(1797—1801)的三件事:

    1)与法国避免了一次战争

    美法关系因1783年英美签订《巴黎和约》而恶化。1795年10月法国无礼地拒绝接受美国派去的大使。1797年秋美代表团去巴黎。法国政府代理人向美代表提出贷款,同时须给贿赂款25万美元。亚当斯于1798年4月向国会报告了这次交涉的经过。参议院印发了这次报告。以x、y、z来代替所点到的法国人。这消息一经公布, 马上引起了美国人的反感。联邦党人利用美国人民的民族自尊心,制造战争气氛。亚当斯也试图借此迫使法国政府循规蹈矩地建立关系。他宣布,如果法国宣战,美国是会应战的。在战争和向法投降之间没有其他的选择余地。由于亚当斯的鼓动,抗法热潮更加高涨了。国会拨款建造12艘军舰,并就此成立海军部,批准召募一支临时军队,年事已高的华盛顿出任陆军总司令。与此同时,法军在意大利和瑞士被击溃,美国国内因备战出现经济危急。多疑善变的亚当斯觉察到了这些,便于1799年3月任命了一个驻法全权公使。他的这项措施,使开战的计划完全停顿下来。联邦党人怒不可遏,但也不敢反对这一任命。1799年11月9日法国政变, 新执政者对美外交有所改变,亚当斯经过深思熟虑,决定结束那不宣而战的海战,于1800年9月双方签订了一项专约而和解。亚当斯在任期内制止了这场可能发生的战争是他为美国做出的一大贡献。他曾建议为自己写这样一个墓志铭:“此处安葬着约翰·亚当斯。他于1800年担负了与法国讲和的责任。”可见,他以此举自豪。

    2)签署《外籍法》和《惩治煽乱法》

    1789年法国发生的大革命鼓舞了美国人的民主情绪,美国人以无限真挚的情感去祝贺欧洲新时代的到来。这使一向害怕群众起来的亚当斯感到吃惊和担忧;法国革命时一批称为世界公民的学者,绅士和既非学者又非绅士的移民涌入美国,给美国政府带来了许多麻烦;总统的儿子昆西于1791年在学术上被杰裴逊击败;在对法国问题上总统遭到亲法派和其他方面的抨击,甚至诽谤。由于种种原因,1789年6月至7月间,在与法国奸细作斗争的籍口下,国会通过并由总统签署了《外籍法》和《惩治煽乱法》。
    《外籍法》是指《客籍法》和《归化法》而言。根据《客籍法》总统应把任何外国人驱逐出境。《归化法》是把取得美国国籍所必需的年限,从五年延长到十四年。根据这一规定有些国会议员也变成了外国人。《惩治煽乱法》规定凡以口头或文字散布涉及总统、政府和国会之“谣言、诽语或恶意传闻”者均予以监禁及罚金。这项法律生效,实际上是取消了言论自由。这项法律是当政者向自己的政敌施行迫害的法律。一些写美国史的学者把它说成是亚当斯镇压政策进入了恐怖时代的标志。

    3)亚当斯之落选与离任

    1799年亚当斯决定不与法国作战,触怒过以哈米尔顿为首好战者一联邦党人。他们视亚当斯为真正的敌人。谴责他是专制暴君,是大不列颠君主国奴颜卑膝的崇拜者。再加上任期内施政上的败绩,使他在1800年的大选中,以少8 票之数败给了杰裴逊。

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