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#136: American History: Immigrants from Europe Seek a Better Life in a New Land

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Horse-drawn wagons and electric trolley cars share the streets in 1897 Philadelphia during a time of revolutionary change in transportation and industry
Horse-drawn wagons and electric trolley cars share the streets in 1897 Philadelphia during a time of revolutionary change in transportation and industry

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

In our last program, we told you the story of the Statue of Liberty. It was given to the United States by the people of France. Lady Liberty holds a bright torch high over the harbor of New York City. Millions of immigrants coming to America passed the statue as ships carried them to the immigration processing center on Ellis Island.

自由女神像是法国人民送给美国人民的礼物。自由女神矗立在纽约港,高举着火炬。数百万乘船来美国的移民在进入埃利斯岛的移民入境处之前,都能看到自由女神像。

This week in our series, Leo Scully and Maurice Joyce tell the story of immigration in the United States during the eighteen hundreds.

LEO SCULLY: American life was changing. And it was changing quickly. Before eighteen sixty, the United States had an agricultural economy. After eighteen sixty, the country began to change from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

美国生活正在急速变化。1860年前,美国是一个农业国,而在1860年以后,美国开始由农业经济向工业经济转变。

In eighteen sixty, American shops and factories produced less than two thousand million dollars' worth of goods. Thirty years later, in eighteen ninety, American factories produced ten thousand million dollars' worth. By then, more than five million persons were working in factories and mines. Another three million had jobs in the building industries and transportation.

1860年,美国的工商业生产总值不到20亿美元,而三十年之后,也就是1890年时,工业生产总值已经达到100亿美元。那时,已经有500多万人在工厂和矿山工作,还有300万人在建筑和运输业工作。

MAURICE JOYCE: Year after year, production continued to increase. And the size of the industrial labor force continued to grow.

年复一年,美国经济持续增长,产业工人的数量也在持续增加。

A great many of the new industrial workers came from American farms. Farm work was hard, and the pay was low. Young men left the family farms as soon as they could. They went to towns and cities to look for an easier and better way of life. Many of them found it in the factories. A young man who worked hard and learned new skills could rise quickly to better and better jobs.

许多新兴产业的工人来自美国的农场。农耕很辛苦,又挣不到几个钱。所以年轻人总是千方百计离开农场,到城里去追求更轻松、更美好的生活。许多人在工厂里找到了他们的新生活。一个年轻人,如果工作努力,学会新技术,很快就能得到越来越好的工作。

This was not only true for farmers, but also for immigrants who came to the United States from foreign countries. They came from many different lands and for many different reasons. But all came with the same hope for a better life in a new world.

不仅美国的农民有这样的机会,从世界各地到美国来的移民也同样如此。这些移民出于不同的理由,从不同的国家来到美国,但他们有一个共同的愿望,那就是在美国这个新世界里过上更好的生活。

LEO SCULLY: In the eighteen fifties, America's industrial revolution was just beginning. Factories needed skilled workers -- men who knew how to do all the necessary jobs. Factory owners offered high pay to workers who had these skills.

十九世纪五十年代,美国的工业革命才刚刚开始,工厂需要全能型的技术工人。工厂主出高工资吸引这种技术工人。

British workers had them. Many had spent years in British factories. Pay was poor in Britain, and these skilled workers could get much more money in America. So, many of them came. Hundreds of thousands. Some factories -- even some industries -- seemed completely British.

英国工人就是这种全能型的,很多工人在英国的工厂里已经工作了好多年。但是,他们在英国的工资很低。这些技工如果在美国的话,挣的工资会比英国高许多。所以,数十万英国技术工人来到美国。结果,在美国的一些工厂里,甚至在有的产业里,做工的全是英国人。

MAURICE JOYCE: Cloth factories in Fall River, Massachusetts, were filled with young men from Lancashire, England. Most of the workers in the shipyards of San Francisco were from Scotland. Many of the coal miners in America were men from the British mines in Wales.

在麻萨诸塞州的福尔里弗,服装厂里到处都是来自英国兰开夏的年轻人;旧金山造船厂里绝大多数工人来自苏格兰;而美国许多煤矿里的矿工大都来自威尔士。

Many were farmers who came to America because they could get land for nothing. They could build new farms for themselves in the rich land of the American west.

许多移民原本是农民,他们来美国是因为在这里可以免费获得土地。他们在美国西部富饶的土地上开垦自己的新农场。

LEO SCULLY: One of the best-liked songs in Britain then was a song about the better life in America. Its name: "To The West." Its words helped many men decide to make the move to America.

当时,英国最流行的歌曲之一唱的就是在美国的美好生活,这首歌叫《To The West》--《到西部去》。歌中描绘的情景让许多人决定移民到美国去。歌中唱道:

"To the West, to the West, to the land of the free

"到西部去,到西部去,那里是自由的土地,

Where mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea;

密苏里河滚滚而下,奔腾入海;

Where a man is a man if he's willing to toil.

那里的人只要肯耕耘就能有收获,

And the poorest may harvest the fruits of the soil.

最穷苦的人也能从大地收获硕果;

Where the young may exult and the aged may rest,

那里年轻人快乐,老人无忧,

Away, far away, to the land of the west."

去吧,去那遥远的西部吧。"

MAURICE JOYCE: To another group of immigrants, America was the last hope. Ireland in the eighteen forties suffered one crop failure after another. Hungry men had to leave. In eighteen fifty alone, more than one hundred seventeen thousand people came to the United States from Ireland. Most had no money and little education. To those men and women, America was a magic name.

十九世纪,美国成为一些移民追寻更好生活的目的地。但是,对另外一些人来说,移民到美国也许是他们最后的希望。在十九世纪四十年代,爱尔兰的农作物连年欠收,饥饿的人们不得不背井离乡。仅1850年这一年,就有11万7千人离开爱尔兰来到美国。他们中的大多数人没钱,也没文化。美国对他们而言是一个神奇的名字。

LEO SCULLY: Throughout Europe, when times were hard, people talked of going to America. In some countries, organizations were formed to help people emigrate to the United States. A Polish farmer wrote to such an organization in Warsaw:

在整个欧洲,每当生活困苦时,人们就想到移民美国。在一些国家甚至出现了一些帮助人们移民美国的组织。

"I want to go to America. But I have no money. I have nothing but the ten fingers of my hands, a wife, and nine children. I have no work at all, although I am strong and healthy and only forty-five years old. I have been to many towns and cities in Poland, wherever I could go. Nowhere could I earn much money. I wish to work. But what can I do. I will not steal, and I have no work. So, I beg you to accept me for a journey to America."

有一位波兰农民给当时在华沙的一个这样的组织写信说:"我想去美国,但我没有钱,我除了有一双手、一个妻子和九个孩子外,什么也没有。尽管我很强壮,身体健康,而且只有四十五岁,但我根本就没有工作可做。在波兰,我已经去了我能去的所有城镇,但没有一个地方能让我挣更多钱。我想要工作,但我能做什么呢。我不会去偷盗,但我没有工作。所以,我请求你们接受我,帮我去美国。"

An 1880 drawing of immigrants arriving at Castle Garden, New York
An 1880 drawing of immigrants arriving at Castle Garden, New York

MAURICE JOYCE: As the years passed, fewer people were moving to America for a better job. Most were coming now for any job at all. Work was hard to find in any of the cities in Europe.

随着时间的流逝,已经没有多少人是为了更好的工作而移民美国了,他们中大多数人到美国只是为了能够找到工作。在欧洲的所有城市里,找工作已经非常困难。

A British lawmaker told parliament in eighteen seventy that Englishmen were leaving their country, not because they wanted to, but because they had to. They could not find work at home. He said that even as he spoke, hundreds were dying of hunger in London and other British cities. They were victims of the new revolution in agriculture and industry.

1870年,一位英国议员对议会说,英国人离开自己的国家,不是因为他们想离开,而是不得已而离开。因为他们在国内找不到工作。他说,就在我说这番话的时候,伦敦和英国的其它城市里成百上千人正因为没有东西吃而饿死,他们是新一轮工业和农业革命的牺牲品。

Small family farms were disappearing. In their places rose large modern farms that could produce much more. New machines took the place of men. And millions of farmers had to look for other work. Some found it in the factories. Industry was growing quickly -- but not quickly enough to give jobs to all the farmers out of work.

当时,小型家庭农场正在消失,代之而起的是现代化大农场,这样的农场产量更高,新机器取代了工人的位置。数百万农民不得不寻找其它工作。有些人在工厂里找到了工作。虽然工业也在快速发展,但发展速度还是不能给所有的失业农民提供就业机会。

LEO SCULLY: In the next ten years, millions of people made the move from Britain, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. But then, as industry in those countries grew larger, and more jobs opened, the flood of immigration began to slow.

在此后的十年里,数百万人从英国、德国和斯堪的纳维亚半岛各个国家来到美国。但随着这些国家的工业发展壮大,就业岗位不断增加,移民美国的洪流开始减慢。

The immigrants now were coming from southern and eastern Europe. Anti-Jewish feeling swept Russia and Poland. Violence against Jews caused many of them to move to America.

代之而起的是来自南欧和东欧各国的移民。那时,反犹情绪席卷俄罗斯和波兰,针对犹太人的暴力迫使许多犹太人移民到美国。

In the late eighteen eighties, cholera spread through much of southern Italy. Fear of the disease led many families to leave for the United States.

十九世纪八十年代后期,意大利南部暴发大面积霍乱,许多家庭因害怕得病而移民到美国。

Others left when their governments began building up strong armies. Young men who did not want to be soldiers often escaped by moving to America. Big armies were costly, and many people left because they did not want to pay the high taxes.

还有些人是因为本国政府扩军而决定移民美国。不想当兵的年轻人通常会逃到美国。扩军需要庞大的经费,许多人不愿意承担由此而生的高额税赋,决定移民到美国。

Whatever the reason, people continued to emigrate to the United States.

总之,无论出于什么原因,世界各地的人们源源不断地涌向美国。

MAURICE JOYCE: These new immigrants were not like those who came earlier. These new immigrants had no skills. Most were unable to read or write.

这些新移民和早先的移民不一样。他们没有什么技术,大部分人是文盲。

Factory owners found that these eastern and southern Europeans were hard workers. They did not protest because the work was hard and the pay was low. They did not demand better working conditions. They did not join unions or strike.

工厂主发现,这些南欧和东欧的移民非常能够吃苦,他们不会因为工作艰苦和工资低而抗议,不会要求改善工作环境,不会加入工会或举行罢工。

Factory owners began to replace higher-paid American and British workers with the new immigrants. Business leaders wanted more of the new workers. They urged the immigrants to write letters to their friends and relatives in the old country. "Tell them to come to America, that there are plenty of jobs."

于是,工厂主开始用这些新移民来替代高工资的美国和英国工人。老板们需要越来越多这样的新工人,他们还让新移民写信给国内的亲戚朋友,"告诉他们来美国,这里有的是工作。"

LEO SCULLY: Letters from America brought many more immigrants. The big steamship companies also helped industry to get more of the new workers. They paid thousands of agents throughout Europe to sell tickets for the trip to America. Their efforts meant that steamships bringing grain to Europe could return to America filled with immigrants.

美国的来信吸引了更多的移民。大型轮船公司也帮助企业征招更多的工人。它们雇用成千上万的代理人,在欧洲各地出售到美国的船票。

They came by the hundreds of thousands. People of all religions, from all across Europe. Many remained in New York and other eastern cities. But many others moved westward. They took jobs in the steel factories of Pennsylvania and the coal mines of West Virginia. They worked in the lumber camps of Michigan and in the stockyards and meat-packing plants of Chicago.

这么做的目的是,轮船公司的船在把农作物运到欧洲后,返回美国时不跑空船,能再运送大量的移民到美国。数十万不同宗教信仰的移民从欧洲各地来到美国。许多移民留在了纽约和其它东部城市,但更多的人向西边迁移。他们在宾夕法尼亚的钢铁厂、西维吉尼亚的煤矿、密西根州的木材厂和芝加哥的养殖场、肉联厂找到了工作。

MAURICE JOYCE: Within a few years, foreign-born workers held most of the unskilled jobs in many American industries. American workers began to protest. They demanded an end to the flood of immigration.

在短短的几年中,外国出生的工人占据了美国许多行业中的非技术型岗位。于是,美国本土工人开始抗议,要求结束移民潮。

That will be our story in the next program of THE MAKING OF A NATION.

(MUSIC)

BARBARA KLEIN: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Leo Scully and Maurice Joyce. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at www.unsv.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

网友的学习评论(3条):
作者:read11111
Where is the MP3 of this programme?
作者:read11111
This programme is so great, only on unsv.com. I'm looking forward to the up-to-date programme.
作者:hliu
Farm work is hard, and the pay is low. Many farmers leave to find jobs in factories. This happens everywhere.
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