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美国宪法的制定 – 译学馆
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美国宪法的制定

The Making of the American Constitution - Judy Walton

1787年的春天
It is the spring of 1787.
独立战争仅仅结束六年,
The Revolutionary War has been over for only six years,
而年轻的美国仍在它的婴儿期里苦苦挣扎。
and the young United States is still struggling in its infancy.
起义、关于边界的争论和共同愿景的缺少,所有这些都在使这个新生的国家感到苦恼。
Uprisings, boundary disputes and the lack of a common vision all plague the newborn country.
为了稳定美国这艘颠簸的大船
In an effort to steady this precarious ship,
联邦议会召集各州 选派代表参加这次于
the Confederation Congress calls on states to send delegates to the grand Convention,
5月14日在美国费城召开的重要会议
to begin on May 14 in Philadelphia.
代表们必须对《联邦条例》起草修正
The delegates must draft revisions to the Articles of Confederation,
接下来,这些修正案将经由大会仔细考虑,并由各州核准通过。
which would then be considered by the Congress and approved by the states.
基于这些修正案的条款规定,
Under the terms of the Articles,
全部十三个州必须商定任何变革。
all 13 states had to agree to any changes.
因为大会的作用只是让各位代表提提建议,
Since the purpose of the Convention is just to make recommendations,
所以并不是所有人都对参加会议抱有热情,
not everyone is excited about attending,
而坦白来说,一些代表认为这只是在浪费时间。
and frankly, some think it’s a waste of time.
虽然代表们从国家的各个地区踏上了落满尘埃、崎岖不平的道路,去往费城参加会议,
As men from different parts of the country began to travel down dusty, rugged roads on the way to Philadelphia,
但并不是所有的州都派出了自己的代表。
not all states send delegates.
事实上,罗德岛的代表甚至从未出现过。
In fact, Rhode Island never even shows up.
在5月14号当天,只有8名代表–
On May 14th, only 8 delegates —
不是州代表,而是独立的个人代表–
not states, but individual delegates —
出席了会议,因此大会只好等待。
are present, so they wait.
终于,在5月25日,七个州必需的法定代表人数也都完成了选派。
Finally, on May 25th, the necessary quorum of seven states is acheived.
总共有55名代表在大会的议程中到达费城。
In all, 55 delegates arrive in Philadelphia over the course of the Convention.
他们都是白色人种, 男性,有钱人,并且平均年龄大约44岁。
They are all white males, property owners, and the average age is about 44.
一些代表是奴隶主,一些代表签署过独立宣言,(如詹姆斯·麦迪逊,罗杰·谢尔曼)
Some are slaveholders, some had signed the Declaration of Independence, [James Madison, Roger Sherman]
并且几乎所有的代表都受过良好的教育。(如本杰明·富兰克林)
and almost all are well-educated. [Benjamin Franklin]
想象一下这样的画面,代表中有詹姆斯·麦迪逊和乔治·华盛顿,
Picture the delegates, James Madison and George Washington among them,
大家都坐在炎热、潮湿的费城独立大厅内。
sitting in Independence Hall in hot, humid Philadelphia.
穿着日常的服装:礼服大衣、高高的衣领和厚实的裤子。
They’re all wearing the dress of the day: frock coats, high collars and thick pants.
他们投票决定以保持讨论的私密性来鼓励代表们进行坦率的辩论。
They vote to keep their discussions secret to encourage honest debate.
但是那就意味着窗户都关着,并且在1787年是没有空调的,甚至没有电风扇
But that means the windows are closed, and there is no air conditioning in 1787, not even an electric fan.
而代表们将坐在闷热的高温中,穿着那些厚重的衣服,度过整整三个月。
and they’ll sit in that sweltering heat, in those heavy clothes, for three months.
令人震惊的是,他们都遵守着对会议内容保密的誓言。
Shockingly, they all keep their vow of secrecy.
那在今天是很难得的,即便是一个小时的会议也是如此。
That could never happen today, not even for an hour-long meeting.
有人可能通过了解詹姆斯.麦迪逊,可能认为他很聪明
Someone would share ‘James Madison thinks he’s so smart.
关键:经由社会媒体产生的文字如一摊死水,
Keyword: articles are dead’ via social media,
并且一切都将像疾病一样扩散开来
and the whole thing would be a disaster.
但在1787年,并没有泄露。一切严丝合缝,没有走漏一点风声。
But in 1787, there are no leaks. Not even a drip that hints at what they are doing.
是政府送他们去那儿的,他们所做的也都是对政府有利的事
And what they are doing is nothing short of overthrowing the very government that sent them there.
几天内,原定七个州的人,只得到了六个州的认可,
Within a few days, with only a seven-state quorum, and only six of those states agreeing,
少数人改变了这个国家的历史。
a handful of men change the course of history.
他们投票否决了联邦议案,
They vote to get rid of the Articles of Confederation,
并起草了一份新的,一份更符合实际的议案,而这份也成为了现在我们熟知的美国宪法
and write a new, more nationalistic document that becomes our Constitution.
其风险是无法预计的。
The risk is immense.
外界的人都在猜测他们在对《联邦法案》进行修正
Everyone on the outside assumes they were working on recommended revisions to the Articles.
这是一场赔上名誉的赌博 甚至9月17号大会代表签署法案的当天
It’s an incredible gamble, and even when the Convention presents the signed Constitution on September 17th,
也不是所有人都认同这个法案的
not all delegates endorse it.
他们将在随后两年里对其内容进行争辩
The country will argue and debate for two more years
直到在规定范围内的13个州中有9个州认同采纳此文件
before the document is adopted by the required nine out of 13 states.
如今我们应当感谢当时参加费城大会的人们独到的眼光和智慧
But instead of punishing them for their deception,
而不是惩罚他们的欺骗
today we celebrate the wisdom and vision of those men in Philadelphia.

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