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美国第一届选举的怪现象 – 译学馆
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美国第一届选举的怪现象

The oddities of the first American election - Kenneth C. Davis

草坪上到处都插着的标语
Lawn signs sprouting everywhere.
收音机和电视上全天候的广告
Round-the-clock ads on radio and television.
铃声响起,是来自总统或他对手的自动语音来电
The phone rings. It’s a robo-call from the president, or his opponent,
有求捐款,也有拉选票的
asking for your money, and your vote.
当你身处大选年的时候,看他们的YouTube视频和Facebook状态
And while you’re at it, watch their YouTube videos and like them on Facebook.
选举时间,我们都了解现代选举活动的套路
Election time. We all know the look and feel of modern campaigns.
但是在合众国的早些年间,总统选举是怎么样的?
But what was it like in the early days of the Republic, when, say,
或者说,乔治·华盛顿竞选的时候
George Washington ran for office?
好吧,事实上,他没有竞选
Well, in fact, he didn’t run.
1789年,华盛顿成为了美国第一届总统
When Washington became the first president in 1789,
当时没有政党,没有选举大会,没有候选人初选
there were no political parties, no conventions or primaries,
没有选举活动,没有选举季
no campaign, no election season.
不仅是候选者
Not really any candidates.
甚至年份都有些古怪
Even the year was odd.
不夸张地说,1789年大选是唯一一个在古怪的年份举行的大选
Literally. 1789 was the only presidential election ever held in an odd year.
当225年前的建国者们制定了宪法和总统制度之后
After the framers invented the constitution and the presidency 225 years ago,
国家开始着手选择要做的第一件事情(选总统)
the country set about the business of choosing its first executive.
人们同意本·富兰克林的想法,认为“掌舵国家的人必须是个好人”
Agreeing with Ben Franklin, many people thought ‘The first man at the helm will be a good one,’
而且富兰克林原本就指的是乔治·华盛顿
and by that, Franklin meant George Washington.
更不用说革命中最耀眼的英雄华盛顿主导了制定宪法的国会
Greatest hero of the Revolution, Washington presided over the convention that created the constitution,
他从没讨论过总统的职能
rarely speaking. He never discussed the job of president,
也没有过这样的想法 当进行第一次总统选举时
or of wanting it. And when the first presidential election took place,
这件事就像是一床需要多次缝合的百纳被褥
it was a crazy-quilt affair, with many hands stitching the pattern.
在新的体制下 每个州都被赋予了一定数量的选举人
Under the new constitution, each state was given a number of electors.
这些人要投票给两个人中的一个
who would cast a vote for two names.
那个获得最多票数的人就可以成为总统了
The man with the most votes would be president,
得票数第二多的就可以成为副总统了
the second-place finisher was vice president.
啊,不过谁来选出选民们?这问题就留给了各个州
Ah, but who picked the electors? That was left up to the states.
六个州让人民决定,或者是至少超过21岁拥有独立财产的白人
Six of them let the people decide, or at least white men over 21 who owned property.
在新泽西州 女人是可以投票的 但之后废除了这条
In New Jersey, some women voted, a right later taken away.
在其他州 由立法机关挑选出选民
But in other states, the legislature picked the electors.
在那个时候,很多人认为民主制度跟群众执政是有一定距离
At that time, many people thought democracy was one step away from mob rule
一个重要的决策该留给有智慧的人决定
and a decision this important should be left to wiser men.
这些选民投票选出总统
These electors then voted for president.
所有州需要做的是及时统计他们的投票
All the states had to do was get their votes in on time.
但这里有些问题
But there were glitches.
只有10/13的州可以投票
Only 10 of the 13 states voted.
罗德岛州和北卡罗莱纳州没有批准通过宪法 因此也就没有投票权了
Rhode Island and North Carolina hadn’t ratified the constitution and couldn’t vote.
纽约州错过了登记选民的最后期限 因此也就没被计算在内
New York missed the deadline for naming its electors, and also was not counted.
当唱票后 事情就决定下来了
When the votes were tallied, it was unanimous.
乔治.华盛顿成为了总统 约翰.亚当斯位居第二 成为了副总统
George Washington won easily. John Adams trailed far behind, finishing second, and became the vice president.
当告诉乔治.华盛顿他当选的消息时 他一点也不惊讶
Told of his victory, George Washington was not surprised.
在芒特弗农的他已经打好包了
At Mount Vernon, his bags were already packed.
随后 他来到纽约市 暂时的国家首都
He moved to New York City, the nation’s temporary capital,
他指出一个总统应该做些什么
and he would have to figure out just what a president was supposed to do.
自从那次选举后 美国的民主和大选已经走了很长一段路了
Since that first election, American democracy and elections have come a long way.
新宪法规定更多的人可以参与投票
The constitution has been changed to open up voting to more people:
包括黑人 女人 美国原住民和年满18岁的公民
black men, women, Native Americans, and eighteen-year-olds included.
让每个人都被赋予这些基本的权利经过了一段长时间的艰苦斗争
Getting that basic right extended to all those people has been a long, hard struggle.
所以当你一点也不能忍受哪些法律标语和电视广告的时候
So when you think you can’t stand any more of those lawn signs,
你要记得:
and TV ads, just remember:
投票的权利不总是赋予每个人,
the right to vote wasn’t always for everyone,
那只是一段值得了解的历史。
and that’s a piece of history worth knowing.

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