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#133: Garfield's Short Presidency Ends in Tragedy

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James Garfield
James Garfield

Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

In eighteen eighty, President Rutherford Hayes completed four successful years in the White House. He did not want to serve another term. Hayes was a Republican. His party had great hopes of electing another Republican in the election of eighteen eighty.

1880年,卢瑟福·海斯成功地结束了总统任期。他不想再干一任。海斯是共和党人,而共和党非常希望在1880年的大选中再次得到总统宝座。

This week in our series, Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe report on that election.

KAY GALLANT: Many Republicans wanted to nominate former President Ulysses Grant. Grant had been out of office four years. People seemed to have forgotten the political problems that shook his administration.

许多共和党人想提名前总统尤利塞斯.格兰特为候选人。格兰特离开白宫已经四年了,人们似乎已经忘记了那些曾经伤害格兰特政府威望的政治丑闻。

Other Republicans supported the powerful party leader, Senator James Blaine. A third candidate was John Sherman, the Secretary of the Treasury.

一些共和党人则支持本党强有力的领导人、参议员詹姆斯.布莱恩。还有一位候选人是当时的财政部长约翰.谢尔曼。

The Republicans had great difficulty choosing among Grant, Blaine and Sherman. At their national convention, Republican delegates voted again and again. None of the three men received a majority.

共和党人在格兰特、布莱恩和谢尔曼三个人中犹豫不决。在共和党全国大会上,代表们一次又一次地投票表决,可是没有一位候选人能够获得多数票。

HARRY MONROE: The delegates voted ten times, twenty times, thirty times. Finally, on the thirty-fourth ballot, seventeen of the delegates voted for a compromise candidate. He was James Garfield, a Republican leader in Congress. Soon, both Sherman and Blaine asked all of their delegates to vote for Garfield. The compromise candidate won the nomination.

代表们不断地投票,十次、二十次、三十次。终于,在第三十四轮投票中,有十七名代表把票投给一位经各方妥协而产生的候选人,这就是国会共和党领袖詹姆斯.加菲尔德。很快,谢尔曼和布莱恩也要求他们的支持者把票投给加菲尔德。这样,加菲尔德获得了共和党的总统候选人提名。

James Garfield offered the vice presidential nomination to Chester Arthur of New York. Arthur's honesty had been questioned when President Hayes removed him as Collector of Taxes for the port of New York. But a powerful party leader there supported him. So delegates gave Arthur the vice presidential nomination to strengthen party unity.

加菲尔德提议来自纽约的切斯特.亚瑟做副总统候选人。在海斯总统执政期间, 亚瑟曾是纽约海关的税收长,但后来被海斯撤了职,所以他的诚信受到了人们的质疑。不过,亚瑟得到了一位共和党大佬的支持。所以,代表们同意提名他为副总统候选人,以加强党内团结。

KAY GALLANT: The Democratic Party chose for its presidential candidate a hero of the Civil War -- General Winfield Scott Hancock of Pennsylvania.

民主党则推选一位内战英雄作为他们的总统候选人,这个人就是宾夕法尼亚州的温菲尔德.斯科特.汉考克将军。

The election campaign of eighteen eighty was not exciting. Democrats charged that Republicans were dishonest. Republicans charged that a Democrat in the White House would make the south too powerful. Many people at that time still hated the south for starting the Civil War. They wanted to keep southern states weak.

1880年的总统大选没有什么吸引人之处。民主党指责共和党人不诚实,而共和党人则说,如果民主党人当选总统,就会使南方的政治势力变得过于强大。当时,许多人仍然因为南方挑起内战而憎恨南方,所以希望限制南方各州的力量。

Nine million people voted in the election. James Garfield won. He got only ten thousand more popular votes than Winfield Scott Hancock. But he got a majority of votes in the electoral college. Garfield won two hundred fourteen electoral votes. Hancock got one hundred fifty-five.

有900万人在这次总统选举中投票。结果,詹姆斯.加菲尔德获胜。他只比汉考克多得了一万张选民票,但他获得了大多数的选举人票。他和汉考克获得的选举人票分别是214张和155张。

HARRY MONROE: The new president was forty-nine years old. He had served in the House of Representatives for seventeen years. He had been a teacher, a college president, and a general in the Union army during the Civil War.

新总统当时49岁,曾经担任过17年的国会众议员。他当过老师和大学校长,内战期间是北方军队的将军。

James Garfield became president of the United States on March fourth, eighteen eighty-one. His choices for a cabinet immediately re-opened the conflicts that had appeared during the party convention.

1881年3月4日,加菲尔德就任美国总统,而在他挑选内阁成员时,共和党在推举总统候选人时显露的矛盾又马上浮现出来。

KAY GALLANT: The Republican Party had two powerful leaders. One was Senator Roscoe Conkling. The other was Senator James Blaine. Garfield won Blaine's support by naming him Secretary of State. He lost Conkling's support by refusing to name one of Conkling's supporters Secretary of the Treasury.

共和党内有两位强有力的领导人,一位是纽约州参议员罗斯科.康克林,另一位就是参议员詹姆士.布莱恩。加菲尔德因为提名布莱恩为国务卿而得到了后者的支持,但是,他却因拒绝提名康克林的支持者为财政部长而得罪了康克林。

Garfield denied he had promised anything to Conkling. Then he made Conkling even angrier by appointing one of Conkling's political enemies Collector of Taxes for the port of New York. That was the most important federal job in Conkling's home state.

加菲尔德说,他从未向康克林做过任何许诺。他还提名康克林的一位政治对手担任纽约海关的税收长,这进一步激怒了康克林。因为海关税收长是纽约州最重要的联邦政府职务。

Conkling refused to accept the appointment. He began a struggle in the Senate to block it.

康克林不支持总统的提名,他决定在参议院阻扰提名获得通过。

HARRY MONROE: Conkling charged that President Garfield had failed to observe the policy of "Senatorial Courtesy." Traditionally, the president does not fill federal jobs in a state until he discusses them with the senators from that state. This long-time policy gave senators firm control over local federal jobs. They were quick to attack any changes in the method.

他指责总统没有遵守所谓的"参议员礼遇惯例"。根据这一惯例,在没有同某州的参议员充分协商之前,总统不能提名某人担任这个州的联邦政府职务。这个多年形成的惯例使参议员可以牢牢控制家乡州的联邦政府职位。所以,每当这个惯例面临挑战时,都会马上遭到参议员们的攻击。

But many senators were angry at Conkling. They did not like the way he gave orders to everyone. They did not like the way he threatened his opponents. They did not want to support him on this issue.

但是,许多参议员对康克林不满,他们不喜欢他那种对人颐指气使的样子,不喜欢他威胁对手的样子。因此,很多参议员没有在这个问题上支持康克林。

KAY GALLANT: After several weeks, it became clear that the Senate would approve President Garfield's choice for the tax collector's job. Conkling decided to resign in protest. He would ask the New York legislature to show its support by electing him again to the Senate.

几周后,形势明朗化,参议院将通过加菲尔德总统对纽约海关税收长的提名。康克林决定辞职,以示抗议。他还打算要求纽约州议院力挺他,重新把他选为国会参议员。

Before this could happen, something very unexpected took place. It happened in the train station in Washington, D.C., on July second, eighteen eighty-one. A man ran up to President Garfield, pulled out a gun, and fired twice. One bullet cut Garfield's arm. The other went into his back.

但是,他还没来得及这么做,一件人们始料未及的事情发生了。1881年7月2日,有一个人在华盛顿火车站冲向加菲尔德总统,拔出手枪,连开两枪。一枪打中了加菲尔德的手臂,另一枪打中了他的后背。

An 1881 print of the shooting of President James Garfield
An 1881 print of the shooting of President James Garfield

HARRY MONROE: The assassin was Charles Guiteau. When he fired the gun, he shouted that he supported Roscoe Conkling's political machine.

这个刺客叫查尔斯.盖图,他开枪的时候大喊,自己支持康克林的政治集团。

Charles Guiteau was insane. He believed God had ordered him to kill the president. But the words he shouted caused many people to wonder if others might be involved. After all, the vice president -- Chester Arthur -- supported Roscoe Conkling, too. If James Garfield died, Chester Arthur would become president.

盖图是一个疯子,他认为是上帝派他来刺杀总统的。但他的话使许多人怀疑另外有人参与了这起刺杀。毕竟,副总统切斯特.亚瑟也是康克林的支持者,而一旦加菲尔德去世,亚瑟就会接任总统。

History has provided no evidence that Roscoe Conkling, Chester Arthur, or any other political leader had a part in the shooting. Guiteau is believed to have acted on his own. Yet the situation did cause a great deal of tension while the nation waited to see if Garfield would survive.

直到今天,没有任何证据证明康克林、亚瑟或其他政治领导人参与了这起刺杀。人们普遍认为,盖图刺杀总统只是个人行为。但当时总统遇刺使社会局势极为紧张,整个国家都在关注加菲尔德是否能活下来。

KAY GALLANT: The president was carried to the White House. A doctor tried to remove the bullet from his back. He could not find it. Days passed. The president's condition changed from day to day. Doctors pushed their instruments into the wound as they continued to look for the bullet. The wound became infected. Garfield grew worse. Then he grew better. He asked to be taken to the sea shore.

总统被送到白宫,医生设法取出他后背上的子弹,但他们没能找到这颗子弹。时间一天天过去,总统的身体状况时好时坏。医生们不断把医疗器械探入总统后背上的伤口,去寻找子弹。这导致伤口感染,身体进一步恶化。后来,总统的状况有所好转,他要求将他送到海边养病。

Two months later, the doctors warned the Cabinet and Vice President Arthur that Garfield was dying. The end finally came on September nineteenth, eighteen eighty-one.

两个月后,医生们警告内阁成员和副总统亚瑟说,总统不行了。1881年9月19日,加菲尔德总统去世。

The death of President Garfield
The death of President Garfield

The president's body was taken back to Washington. Memorial services were held there. And then the body was taken to his home state of Ohio for burial.

总统的遗体被运回华盛顿,葬礼也在华盛顿举行。随后他的遗体被运回他的家乡俄亥俄州下葬。

HARRY MONROE: Not until after Garfield's death did doctors find the bullet that killed him. It lay only a few centimeters from the wound. Tissue had grown around it. The bullet itself would not have killed the president. What killed him was the effort made by doctors to find the bullet. Their instruments had spread infection throughout his body.

直到加菲尔德总统去世后,医生们才找到了导致总统死亡的那颗子弹。其实,这颗子弹就在伤口边的几厘米处,但被组织细胞盖了起来。这颗子弹本身并不能要总统的命,但是医生们拼命寻找这颗子弹,他们所使用的医疗器械造成总统全身感染,这才导致了死亡。

James Garfield had been president for six months. He was the second American President to be assassinated. The first -- Abraham Lincoln -- had been shot just sixteen years before.

詹姆士.加菲尔德只当了六个月的总统,他是美国历史上第二位被刺杀的总统,第一位是亚伯拉罕.林肯。两次刺杀之间只隔了6年。

KAY GALLANT: The man who shot James Garfield -- Charles Guiteau -- was tried by a court in Washington. He was found guilty of murder. Like those found guilty of plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln, he was hanged.

开枪刺杀加菲尔德的凶手盖图在华盛顿一个法院受审,被判犯有谋杀罪。同那些谋划刺杀林肯的人一样,他被处以绞刑。

Vice President Chester Arthur was in New York when he received news of President Garfield's death. He quickly sent for a judge to give him the oath of office as President. Arthur was in his early fifties. He would serve one term as leader of the United States.

加菲尔德总统的死讯传出时,副总统亚瑟正在纽约。他很快叫来一位法官,主持他就任总统的宣誓仪式。亚瑟五十出头,在接下来的四年中,他将担任美国总统。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are online, along with historical images, at www.unsv.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #133

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