首页 > VOA慢速英语 > 建国史话 > [翻译字幕]THE MAKING OF A NATION - American History: Westward Expansion Brings Explorers, Settlers in Contact with the Plains Indians

文章详情

[翻译字幕]THE MAKING OF A NATION - American History: Westward Expansion Brings Explorers, Settlers in Contact with the Plains Indians

来源:慢速英语   时间:2013-02-22 09:08:37

建国史话 (25):批准宪法

Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. I’m Steve Ember. This week in our series, we look at the history of early American Indians.

The native peoples of North and South America came from Siberia thousands of years ago. There was a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska before the end of the last ice age. As the groups settled different parts of the land, they developed their own cultures and religions. Each group's story is important in the history of the Americas. But our story today will focus on the tribes in what became the central part of the United States.

In eighteen four, Merriwether Lewis and William Clark led a group of explorers to the Pacific Ocean. They met the tribes of the Great Plains. The explorers were perhaps the first white people these Native Americans had ever seen.

When the group of explorers neared the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, they encountered the Shoshone tribe. Merriwether Lewis was the first to see them. Imagine for a moment that we are with Merriwether Lewis near the Rocky Mountains. Across a small hill, a group of sixty Shoshone men are riding toward us.

The first thing we see is that these men are ready for war. Each is armed with a bow and arrow. Some carry long poles with a sharp knife on the end.

They are riding very fast. Some of the horses look like they do not have riders. But as they get closer we see that the riders are hanging off the sides of the horses, or under the neck. They are using the horses' bodies for protection.
 

Making of a Nation

The horses are painted with many different designs in blue, black, red and other colors. Later we learn that each design has a special meaning for the man who owns the horse. Each one tells a story. For example, the rider of one of the horses is a leader in battle. Another has killed an enemy.

As they come nearer, the Shoshone group sees that we are not ready for war. They slow their horses but are still very careful. Merriwether Lewis holds up an open hand as a sign of peace. The leader of the Shoshone does the same. They come closer.

The Shoshone are dressed in clothes made from animal skins. Most of these skins are from deer or buffalo. The skins also have designs, and tell stories like the designs on the horses. One design shows that someone has fought in a battle. Another shows that the person has been in many raids to capture horses. Still another shows that someone saved the life of a friend.

Merriwether Lewis smiles at these men. He and the Shoshone chief cannot speak each other's language. The explorer again makes a sign of peace, and the sign is again returned.

One young Shoshone comes near. He gets off his horse. He is tall and looks strong. His hair is long and black. He wears one long bird feather in the back of his hair. His arms have been painted with long lines. We learn that each line represents a battle. There are many lines on his arms. Fortunately we are able to continue our travels without a need for him to add another line.

Many tribes, including the Shoshone, populated the area known as the Great Plains. The land they lived on influenced the lives and cultures of these Indian nations.
The plains stretch across the central part of the country and north into Canada and south to Mexico. Even in a car traveling at one hundred kilometers an hour, it can take two long days of driving to cross the Great Plains.

In the East, the plains begin near the Mississippi River and go west to the huge Rocky Mountains. There are big rivers here, and deserts. Some areas are so flat that a person can see for hundreds of kilometers. Huge areas of this land were once covered by thick grasses.

Those grasses provided food for an animal that made possible the culture of the Indians of the Great Plains.

The grass fed the buffalo, or bison, that were the center of native culture in the Great Plains. The huge animals provided meat for the Indians -- and much more. They were an important part of the religion of most of the native people in the Great Plains.

The Lakota tribe, sometimes called the Sioux, believed that everything necessary for life could be found in the buffalo.

The back of the animal provided the thick skins that the Plains Indians used to make their homes. Other parts of the buffalo hide were made into clothing and warm blankets. The bones were made into tools. No part of the animal was wasted.

No one knows how many buffalo were in North America when Merriwether Lewis first met the Shoshone. But experts believe there were probably between sixty million and seventy-five million.

Another animal also played an important part in the Indian cultures of the Great Plains. When Native Americans first saw these animals, they called them big dogs or “mystery dogs.” They had no word for this kind of animal in their languages.

We know it as the horse.

The horse had long been extinct in North America.

“You have to understand, there were horse species here, millions of years ago, but they died out ten thousand years ago, and so no one had seen a horse.”

Until the arrival of Christoper Columbus, and other Spanish explorers.
Emil Her Many Horses, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, describes the at first frightening sight to the native Americans.

“So what comes back with the Spaniards, with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage, are horses as we know them today, the large animals. And so, you can understand that people who had never seen these before, then to see a rider on top of it, dressed in armor, it must have looked like this tank coming at you, that you did not know what it was.

“So, of course, it struck fear – the Spaniards, the conquistadors, capitalized on that, realizing that it was causing fear and confusion, they actually put bells on there, adding that extra level of noise to frighten the natives, who’d never encountered the horse.”

Before the introduction of horses to North America, Indians mostly traveled by foot. Traveling long distances was difficult. So was hunting buffalo.

The horse greatly changed life for the tribes of the Great Plains. It gave them a new way to travel and to carry food and equipment. It made it easier, and safer, for them to follow and hunt the buffalo.

“Originally, you may have killed one or two buffalo, where, if you’re on horseback, you’d be able to kill more buffalo.”

The Smithsonian’s Emil Her Many Horses, who is a member of the Oglala Lakota.

“And, with killing more buffalo, you had more meat, you had more resources to make clothing from the hides And also to make teepees. So things became more and bigger. So you might see a bigger teepee because you had more hides. You were able to kill more buffalo and process it, and so, more abundance.”

The horse made it possible to attack an enemy far away and return safely. The measure of a tribe's wealth became the number of horses it owned. Spanish settlers rode horses to the small town of Santa Fe in what is now the southwestern state of New Mexico. They arrived there in about sixteen nine.

How Native Americans got their first horses is not known. Perhaps they traded for them. Perhaps they captured them. Soon, many tribes were doing both. By the seventeen fifties, all the tribes of the Great Plains had horses. They had become experts at raising, training and riding them. And they became experts at horse medicine.

Indians of the Great Plains could ride a horse by the age of five. As an adult, a man would have one horse for work. Another would be specially trained for hunting.

A horse would be trained to ride into the herd. And buffalos, although they’re huge in their size, they can turn very quickly. So, a horse had to be ready and be able to anticipate that, so you did have hunting horses that were trained to ride into a herd of buffalo.

And a third would be trained for war. An Indian warrior's success depended on how closely he and his horse worked together.

“You wanted to train this horse. I mean, you were one in battle with the horse. When you went into battle, you were a brother, an ally, a comrade. So the horse was trained to fight in close skirmishes.”

George Catlin was an artist who traveled in the early American West. He painted many pictures of the Indians and their horses. Catlin said the Plains Indian was the greatest rider the world had ever known. He said the moment an Indian laid a hand on his horse he became part of the animal.

Both the buffalo and the horse were extremely important to the Plains Indians. Because the horse made hunting easier, more time could be spent on other activities, including art. The Plains Indians began to make designs on their clothing, and on blankets for their horses.

The arrival of white settlers on the Great Plains marked the beginning of the end for the horse and buffalo culture of the Indians. Settlers did not want buffalo destroying their crops. Great numbers of buffalo were killed. By eighteen eighty-five, the Indians of the Great Plains were mostly restricted to areas called reservations.

America's westward expansion led to violent clashes between white settlers and Native Americans. That will be our story next week.

在上次的建国史话中,我们讲到,1787年夏天,各州的代表在费城开会,计划改写将美国当时的十三个州联系在一起的《邦联条例》,但是结果,他们却另起炉灶,制定了一份全新的政府规划。1787年9月17号,经过四个月的激烈辩论,代表们终于在宪法上签了字。他们接下来的任务,就是要让13个州里的至少9个州批准这部宪法。

费城制宪大会是秘密进行的,因为大会代表们希望能够自由地讨论提案、随时改变主张,而不必担心公众的反应。宪法签署后,他们终于可以畅所欲言了,每个人手里都有一份宪法的文本。

各大报社也得到了宪法的副本,他们一字不差地发表出来,引起了公众的强烈反响。普通百姓跟大会代表一样,分为支持和反对两大阵营。支持者说,这部宪法能拯救美国。反对者说,这部宪法会创造独裁。

支持新宪法的领导人物知道,如果想让宪法获得通过,他们就必须站出来说话。因此,制宪大会的代表们在宪法上签字的短短几周后,一些支持宪法的与会代表们就开始发表声明。

他们的声明最早出现在纽约的报纸上,这些声明被统称做联邦主义者文集。文章署名 Publius, 但实际上,撰稿人有三个,他们分别是:亚历山大·汉密尔顿、詹姆斯·麦迪逊和约翰·杰伊。很多年后,历史学家说,联邦主义者文集是对美国宪法最好的解释,但是1787年的时候,这些文章并没有对公众舆论产生多大的影响。

围绕宪法的辩论将美国民众分成了两大阵营,支持者被称为联邦主义者,反对者被称为反联邦主义者。反联邦主义者并不反对美国,他们都是非常爱国的领导人物,但是他们认为,建立一个强有力的中央政府不是个好主意。他们指出,如果让总统、国会和法院享有太多的权力,那人民就丧失了自由,会失去独立战争中争取到的自由。

维吉尼亚州的帕特里克·亨利是反联邦主义者的代表人物之一。詹姆斯·麦迪逊称他是宪法最危险的敌人。帕特里克·亨利和其他反联邦主义者试图制造对新政府体系的不信任和恐惧,让务农者和城市人、让北方和南方、让人口少的小州和人口多的大州之间形成对立。

当时费城的一份反联邦主义者的报纸曾发表了一篇评论文章。文章说,“公民们!你们能住在宾夕法尼亚州,简直是太幸运了,因为这里有世界上最好的政府。不要让新宪法把我们的政府摧毁掉,不要让几个人,几个声名显赫的人控制了你们的生活。”一名联邦主义者曾指出,恐吓人民要比教育人民容易得多。

大陆会议里既有联邦主义者,也有反联邦主义者。大陆会议虽然权力有限,但它却是当时13个州唯一认可的中央政府。大陆会议在纽约市开会。费城制宪大会向大陆会议提交了一份宪法草案,短短八天后,大陆会议就决定,由每个州分别召开宪法会议,讨论是否批准这部宪法。

德拉华州率先于1787年12月初批准了宪法,所有代表都投票赞成。宾夕法尼亚州紧随其后,也于12月批准了新宪法。接下来是新泽西州,同样是在12月份。

再后来是乔治亚州和康涅迪克州,它们于次年元月批准了宪法。至此,共有五个州批准了宪法,离宪法成为法律需要的九个州还差四个。麻萨诸塞州的代表们2月初投票表决。他们认为,宪法需要补充修正案,保证公民的权利。与会代表一致决定,增加这些修正案后,就会批准宪法。

马里兰州4月底批准了新宪法。马里兰州的一些代表投票时附加了一封抗议信。他们在信中说,如果现版的政府规划不进行修正,人民的自由和幸福就会受到威胁。接下来,南卡罗来纳州5月底成为批准新宪法的第八个州,这就是说,再有一个州,宪法就能生效,大家的目光都在注视着维吉尼亚。

维吉尼亚州是13个州里最大的一个州。当时,维吉尼亚州的西部边界一直延伸到密西西比河畔,人口占美国总人口的五分之一。参加宪法批准大会的很多人都是当时的著名人物,包括詹姆斯·麦迪逊、帕克里克·亨利、乔治·梅森、詹姆斯·门罗、埃德蒙·伦道夫和约翰·马歇尔。
 
那个时候,托马斯·杰斐逊还是美国驻法国巴黎的外交使节,但他通过别人,关心着美国国内的事态发展。杰斐逊写信说,他对宪法的大部分内容都很欣赏,但是宪法没有宣示公民的权利,这一点他并不赞同。维吉尼亚州最有名的人物乔治·华盛顿6月份一直待在自己的农场弗农山庄里,信使把会议消息带给他,再把他的信件带走。

维吉尼亚州的代表们围绕宪法展开了激烈的辩论。到6月底的时候,他们已经做好了投票的准备。这时候,最敢说话的反联邦主义者帕特里克·亨利要求发表最后一次声明。

亨利说,“如果大会批准了宪法,我会觉得,我据理力争,虽败犹荣。如果真是这样的话,那么我会等待和期盼,希望美国独立战争的精神不会丢失,希望新的政府体系能够出现变化,保护美国人民的安全、自由和幸福。”

维吉尼亚宪法大会随即开始投票,最后批准了宪法。不过,跟麻萨诸塞州一样,维吉尼亚州的代表们也要求在宪法中加上保护人民权利的修正案。

维吉尼亚州的联邦主义者非常自豪,因为他们是第九个批准宪法的州,在决定宪法是否能够成为法律的过程中起到了关键作用,但是没过多久,他们就发现,新罕布什尔州早在几天前就已经通过了宪法,使维吉尼亚州变成了批准宪法的第十个州。这样一来,只剩下北卡罗来纳州、罗德岛州和纽约州还没有做出决定了。

在某种意义上,纽约州是美国最重要的一个州。如果纽约拒绝加入联邦的话,那么中央政府几乎不可能统领整个国家,因为从地理上看,纽约州位于南北两端的中心地带,将国家一分为二。

纽约州以亚历山大·汉密尔顿为首的联邦主义者通过冗长的演讲拖延时间,等待维吉尼亚州的动态。7月初,终于传来了维吉尼亚大会批准宪法的消息,但是纽约州的反联邦主义者还是不肯放弃,又坚持了三个星期。

因此,纽约州直到7月底才以微弱多数批准宪法,投票结果是30票赞成,27票反对。纽约州跟麻萨诸塞州和维吉尼亚州一样,也要求补充保护公民权利的修正法案。

在美国建立一个强大的中央政府的努力终于结束了,草拟宪法花了四个月的时间,宪法的批准又花了十个月。大陆会议最后宣布,宪法定于1789年3月份的第一个星期三正式生效,北卡罗来纳州和罗德岛州直到宪法真正成为法律之后的好几个月才正式批准宪法。

曾在美国独立宣言上签过字的宾夕法尼亚州的本杰明.拉什得知宪法被批准的消息后写下了八个字。"It is done. We have become a nation." ---意思是:大功告成,我们成为一个国家。