Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. South Carolina withdrew from the United States on December twentieth, eighteen sixty. The state seceded because a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, had been elected president. The Republicans were a new party, and Lincoln was the first to be elected president. They wanted to stop slavery from spreading into the western territories. Southern states believed they had a constitutional right to take property -- including slaves -- anywhere. They also feared that any interference with slavery would end their way of life. This week in our series, Frank Oliver and Larry West tell what happened after South Carolina left the Union.
South Carolina faced several problems after it seceded. The most serious problem was what to do with property owned by the federal government. There were several United States forts in and around the Port of Charleston. Fort Moultrie had fewer than seventy soldiers. Castle Pinckney had only one. And Fort Sumter -- which was still being built -- had none. The commander of the forts asked for more men. Without them, he said, he could not defend the forts. The army refused. It told the commander to defend the forts as best he could. He was told to do nothing that might cause South Carolina to attack. If South Carolina attacked, or planned to attack, then he could move his men into the fort that would be easiest to defend. That would probably be the new one, Fort Sumter. The governor of South Carolina planned to stop any movement of federal troops. He ordered state soldiers to stop every boat in Charleston Harbor. They were to permit no United States troops to reach Fort Sumter. If any boat carrying troops refused to stop, the state soldiers were to sink it and seize the fort. Six days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the commander of Charleston's forts decided to move his men to Fort Sumter. They would move as soon as it was dark.
The federal troops crossed the port in small boats. The state soldiers did not see them. The governor was furious when he learned what had happened. He demanded that the federal troops leave Fort Sumter. The commander said they would stay. The governor then ordered state soldiers to seize the other two forts in Charleston Harbor. And he ordered the state flag raised over all other federal property in the city. President James Buchanan, who would leave office in just a few months, was forced to deal with the situation. His cabinet was deeply divided on the issue. The southerners wanted him to recognize South Carolina and order all federal troops out of Charleston Harbor. The northerners said he must not give up any federal property or rights. The president agreed to meet with three representatives from South Carolina. They had come to Washington to negotiate the future of federal property in their state. The attorney general said the meeting was a mistake. "These gentlemen," he said, "claim to be ambassadors of South Carolina. This is foolish. They cannot be ambassadors. They are lawbreakers, traitors, and should be arrested. You cannot negotiate with them."
The attorney general and the secretary of state threatened to resign if President Buchanan gave in to South Carolina's demands. The president finally agreed not to give in. He said he would keep federal troops in Charleston Harbor. And he said Fort Sumter would be defended against all hostile action. On the last day of eighteen sixty, he ordered two hundred troops and extra supplies sent to Fort Sumter. The War Department wanted to keep the operation secret. So the troops and supplies were put on a fast civilian ship, instead of a slower warship. It was thought that a civilian ship could get into Charleston Harbor before state forces could act. But a southern Senator learned of the operation. He warned the governor of South Carolina. When the ship arrived in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina soldiers were waiting. The soldiers lit a cannon and fired a warning shot. The ship refused to stop. Other cannons then opened fire. The commander of federal troops at Fort Sumter had a difficult decision to make. He had received permission to defend the fort, if attacked. But his orders said nothing about defending ships. He knew that if he opened fire, the United States and South Carolina would be at war. The decision was made for him. South Carolina's cannons finally hit the ship. The ship slowed, then turned back to sea. It returned north with all the troops and supplies.
The commander of Fort Sumter sent a message to the governor of South Carolina. "Your forces," he wrote, "fired this morning on a civilian ship flying the flag of my government. Since I have not been informed that South Carolina declared war on the United States, I can only believe that this hostile act was done without your knowledge or permission. For this reason -- and only this -- I did not fire on your guns." If, the commander said, the governor had approved the shelling, it would be an act of war. And he would be forced to close the Port of Charleston. No ship would be permitted to enter or leave. The governor's answer came back within hours. He said South Carolina was now independent. He said the attempt by the United States to strengthen its force at Fort Sumter was clearly an act of aggression. And he demanded that the commander surrender. During the crisis over Fort Sumter, Congress tried to find a compromise that might prevent war. Lawmakers proposed a new line across the country. South of the line, slavery would be permitted. North of the line, slavery would be illegal. Many Republicans supported the proposal, even though the Republican Party opposed the spread of slavery into the western territories.
One Republican, however, rejected the idea completely. He was Abraham Lincoln, who would take office as president in March. Lincoln said there could be no compromise on extending slavery. "If there is," he said, "then all our hard work is lost. If trouble comes, it is better to let it come now than at some later time." The trouble would come soon. One by one, the states of the South seceded. By February first, eighteen sixty-one, six states had followed South Carolina out of the Union. A few days later, representatives from the states met in Montgomery, Alabama. Their job was to create a new nation. It would be an independent republic called the Confederate States of America. The convention approved a constitution for the new nation. The document was like the Constitution of the United States, but with major changes. The southern constitution gave greater importance to the rights of states. And it said there could be no laws against slavery. The convention named former United States Senator Jefferson Davis to be president of the Confederate States of America.
Davis did not want civil war. But he was not afraid of it. He said: "Our separation from the old Union is complete. The time for compromise has passed. Should others try to change our decision with force, they will smell southern gunpowder and feel the steel of southern swords." Jefferson Davis left his farm in Mississippi to become president of the Confederate States of America on February eleventh. On that same day, Abraham Lincoln left his home in Illinois to become president of the United States. As Lincoln got on the train that would take him to Washington, he said: "I now leave, not knowing when -- or whether ever -- I may return. The task before me is greater than that which rested upon our first president. Without the help of God, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Let us hope that all yet will be well."
1.refuse to 一......就；一怎么样就怎么样
I absolutely refuse to get married.
2.as soon as 不久以后；很快
As soon as we found this out, we closed the ward.
3.give in to 屈服于；同意
Officials say they won't give in to the workers 'demands.
4.take office 上任；就职
The new president will take office in january.
南卡罗来纳州在脱离联邦后面临着几个问题，最严重的问题是如何处理联邦政府拥有的财产 。查尔斯顿港内外有数个美国堡垒，莫尔特里堡只有不到70名士兵，平克尼城堡只有一人 。仍在修建中的萨姆特堡，没有士兵守卫 。堡垒指挥官要求增派人手 。他说，没有这些士兵，他就不能保卫堡垒 。军队拒绝了他的请求，并告诉指挥官尽其所能保卫堡垒 。军队告知他不能做任何可能导致南卡罗来纳州袭击的事情，如果南卡罗来纳州进攻，或者计划进攻，那么他可以把他的人转移到最容易防守的堡垒 。而那可能是新的萨姆特堡 。南卡罗来纳州州长计划阻止联邦军队的任何行动，他命令州政府士兵让查尔斯顿港内的每艘船都停下来 。他们不允许美国军队到达萨姆特堡 。如果载有军队的船只不肯停下来，州政府军就要把它击沉，然后占领堡垒 。南卡罗来纳州脱离联邦六天后，查尔斯顿堡垒的指挥官决定将他的士兵转移到萨姆特堡 。天黑时，他们就立刻行动 。
联邦部队乘小船穿过港口，州政府军没有看到他们 。州长得知此事后非常气愤，他要求联邦部队离开萨姆特堡 。指挥官说他们要留下来 。随后，州长命令州政府军占领查尔斯顿港的另外两个堡垒，他同时下令在该市所有其他联邦财产上都要悬挂州旗 。总统詹姆斯·布坎南将在几个月后离任，他被迫要处理这一情况 。他的内阁在这个问题上意见分歧很大 。南方人希望他承认南卡罗来纳州，并命令所有的联邦部队撤离查尔斯顿港 。而北方人则表示，他不能放弃任何联邦财产或权利 。总统同意会见南卡罗来纳州的三位代表，他们来华盛顿是为了商谈所在州联邦财产的未来 。司法部长说该会议是个错误 。“这些先生们，”他说，“自称是南卡罗来纳州的大使，这真是很愚蠢 。他们不可能是大使，而是违法者、叛徒，应该被逮捕 。你不能和他们谈判 。”
如果总统布坎南同意南卡罗来纳州的要求，司法部长和国务卿都威胁要辞职 。最终，总统同意不在此事上做出让步 。他表示，他将在查尔斯顿港保留联邦军队，军队将防御萨姆特堡不受到所有敌对行动的攻击 。在1860年的最后一天，他命令向萨姆特堡派遣两百名士兵和额外的补给 。美国陆军部想保守此次军事行动的秘密 。因此，他们没有将军队和物资安置在速度较慢的军舰上，而是放在了一艘快速行驶的民用船上 。人们认为民用船只可以在州政府军行动之前进入查尔斯顿港 。但是，一位南方参议员得知了这次行动，便给南卡罗来纳州州长发去警告 。当船抵达查尔斯顿港时，南卡罗来纳州的士兵正等在那里 。士兵们点着了一门大炮，鸣炮警告 。船拒绝停驶，其他大炮随即开火 。萨姆特堡的联邦部队指挥官做出一个艰难的决定，如果遭到袭击，他已经收到保卫堡垒的许可 。但命令中并没有说明如何保卫船只 。他知道，如果开火，美国和南卡罗来纳州将陷入战争 。他做出了决定 。南卡罗来纳州的大炮终于击中了那艘船 。船只减速，然后驶回大海 。它带着所有的军队和物资向北返航 。
萨姆特堡的指挥官给南卡罗来纳州州长发去一封信 。“你的军队，”他写道，“今早向一艘悬挂我国政府国旗的民用船只开火 。由于我没有被告知南卡罗来纳州向美国宣战，我只能认为这一敌对行为是在你不知情或未经允许的情况下进行的 。因为这个原因——而且只是这个出于此原因——我没有回击 。”指挥官说，如果州长批准进行炮击，那将是一场战争 。他将被迫关闭查尔斯顿港，任何船舶都不允许进出 。数小时后，州长做出回应 。他称，南卡罗来纳州现在是独立的 。美国试图加强在萨姆特堡的军事力量，这显然是一种侵略行为 。他要求指挥官投降 。在萨姆特堡危机期间，国会试图找到可以防止战争的折衷方案 。立法者在全国范围内提出了一条新路线 。在此线以南地区，允许实施奴隶制 。在此线以北，奴隶制则是非法的 。尽管共和党反对奴隶制向西部地区扩沿，但许多共和党人支持这项提议 。
然而，一位共和党人完全拒绝了这一想法 。他就是亚伯拉罕·林肯，他将于3月就任总统 。林肯说，在扩大奴隶制方面不可能有任何妥协 。“如果有，”他说，“那么我们所有的努力都将白费 。如果麻烦来了，最好现在就让它来，而不是以后再来 。”麻烦很快就来了，南方各州一个接一个地脱离联邦 。到1861年2月1日，六个州已经跟随南卡罗来纳州脱离了联邦 。几天后，来自各州的代表在阿拉巴马州的蒙哥马利会面，他们的工作是创建一个新的国家 。它将是一个独立的共和国，叫做美利坚联盟国 。该大会批准通过了新国家的宪法 。该文件与美国宪法相似，但其中有重大变化 。南方宪法更重视各州的权利，同时，它指出没有法律可以反对奴隶制 。此次大会任命前美国参议员杰斐逊·戴维斯为美利坚联盟国的总统 。
戴维斯不希望发生内战，但他并不害怕内战 。他表示：“我们与旧有联邦的分离是彻底的 。妥协的时刻已经过去，如果其他人试图用武力改变我们的决定，他们会闻到南方火药的味道，体会到南方刀剑的坚硬 。”2月11日，杰斐逊·戴维斯离开密西西比州的农场，成为美利坚联盟国的总统 。就在同一天，亚伯拉罕·林肯离开伊利诺伊州的家，成为美国总统 。林肯坐上去华盛顿的火车时，他说：“我现在走了，不知道我什么时候，或者是否会回来 。摆在我面前的任务比第一任总统面对的任务更为艰巨 。没有上帝的帮助，我无法成功 。有了这样的帮助，我则不会失败 。我们希望一切都会好起来 。”