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#141: Cleveland Backs Gold Standard to Cure Economic Downturn

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Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland

BOB DOUGHTY: Welcome to the MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

In March of eighteen eighty-nine, Grover Cleveland left the White House after four years as president. He had been defeated by Benjamin Harrison.

1889年3月,克利夫兰在当了四年总统后离开了白宫,因为他在选举中输给了哈里森。

As they were leaving, Cleveland's wife, Caroline, spoke with a member of the White House staff. She said: "I want you to take good care of everything. I want to find it the same when we come back. And we will be back -- in four years."

就在离开白宫时,克利夫兰夫人卡罗琳对一位白宫工作人员说:"我希望你们好好照看这里的一切,我希望当我们回来时,这里还能和以前一样。四年后我们就会回来。"

Caroline Cleveland was right. She and her husband moved back into the White House after he became president again in eighteen ninety-three. Grover Cleveland is the only man to serve two terms separated by the administration of a different president.

卡罗琳·克利夫兰说对了。克利夫兰1893年再次当选总统,和夫人重返白宫。克利夫兰也成为美国历史上唯一经历过"第一个任期、离职4年、又重新入主白宫"的总统。

This week in our series, Shirley Griffith and Frank Oliver begin the story of Grover Cleveland's second presidency.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Grover Cleveland did not want to be president again. But he was worried about the future of the United States. He did not think President Harrison could solve the serious economic problems the country faced.

其实,克利夫兰已经不想再当总统了,但他为美国的未来担心。他认为,哈里森总统无法解决美国面临的严重经济问题。

President Harrison had approved very high taxes on imports. He also had approved an increase in the supply of silver money. Grover Cleveland said both actions had hurt the economy. He also feared that Harrison was not strong enough to oppose the demands of special interest groups in the Republican Party.

此前,哈里森总统批准对进口产品征收高额关税,还批准增加银币供应量。克利夫兰认为这两项政策都伤害了美国经济。他还担心哈里森的力量不够强大,无法反对共和党内部各种特殊利益集团提出的要求。

Cleveland believed he was the only Democrat who could defeat Harrison. He won his party's nomination. And he was easily elected to a second presidency.

克利夫兰认为自己是民主党内唯一能够在竞选中击败哈里森的人。他获得了民主党的总统候选人提名,并轻松当选,第二次成为美国总统。

FRANK OLIVER: Grover Cleveland immediately turned to the nation's economic problems. The country seemed headed for a serious depression.

他一上台就立即将注意力转向了国家的经济问题。当时,整个美国似乎正走向严重的经济萧条。

Disorder on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in May 1893. The failure of a railroad and other companies started panic selling
Disorder on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in May 1893. The failure of a railroad and other companies started panic selling

Only a few days before Cleveland's second inauguration in eighteen ninety-three, a major railroad failed. Then another big company declared failure. This set off a selling panic on the stock market.

1893年,就在克利夫兰宣誓第二次就任总统的前几天,美国一家主要的铁路公司倒闭,随后又有另一家大型公司宣布破产,这引发了股票市场上的疯狂抛售。

In the next few months, almost eight thousand businesses failed in the United States. Four hundred banks closed. One million workers lost their jobs. The prices of farm products fell lower than ever before. And thousands of farmers -- unable to pay their debts -- had to give up their farms.

在短短几个月内,全美国有近8000家企业倒闭,400家银行关门,100万工人失业。农产品价格跌到历史最低点,成千上万的农民无力偿还债务,只好出让农田抵债。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Experts offered a number of different reasons for the depression. Some said it was a plot by members of the stock market to ruin farmers and seize their land. Some said it happened because American factories were producing more goods than people could use. Still others said the problem was caused by the government's money policy.

专家们对这次经济萧条提出了许多不同的解释。有些人说,这次大萧条是股市大炒家策划的一场阴谋,目的是逼农民破产,好掠夺他们的土地。还有人说,经济萧条的起因美国工厂产量过剩,超过了需求。还有人说,大萧条是政府的货币政策引起的。

For many years, the United States and other nations used both gold and silver as money. Paper money was used to represent a nation's gold and silver holdings. The value of silver was tied to the value of gold.

许多年来,美国和其它国家采用金银作为货币,纸币只用来代表一个国家金银的拥有量。银价一直与金价挂钩。

In the United States in the early eighteen hundreds, fifteen ounces of silver had the same value as one ounce of gold. This value did not change until after eighteen sixty. That was when mines in the western United States began to produce large amounts of silver. The extra silver caused the price of the metal to fall.

在十九世纪初叶,一盎司黄金等于15盎司白银,这种比价一直到1860年都没有变化。但从1860年开始,美国西部的银矿开始大量开采白银,白银数量过多导致银价下跌。

FRANK OLIVER: In eighteen seventy-one, Germany declared that it would no longer support its paper money with silver. Instead, it would use only gold. Other European countries quickly did the same thing.

1871年,德国宣布不再用白银支持纸币,而只使用黄金。其它欧洲国家很快也效仿德国。

A cartoon from the political magazine Puck in support of ending silver purchases which were expanding the money supply
A cartoon from the political magazine Puck in support of ending silver purchases which were expanding the money supply

The United States did, too. In eighteen seventy-three, Congress passed a law that stopped the government from using silver as money. Western silver producers protested. They put great pressure on lawmakers to change the law. Five years later, Congress passed a compromise bill.

美国也采取了这种做法。1873年,国会通过法律,禁止政府将白银作为货币使用。美国西部的白银生产者对此表示反对,他们向国会议员施加巨大的压力,要求改变这项法律。五年后,国会通过了一项妥协法案。

The compromise bill said the government could issue limited amounts of silver money. It said the government must buy two million dollars' worth of silver each month for that purpose.

妥协法案规定,政府可以发行限量的银币,还规定政府为此必须每个月采购价值200万美元的白银。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Twelve years later, during President Benjamin Harrison's administration, Congress passed a new silver purchase bill.

12年后,在哈里森当总统期间,国会通过了一项新的白银采购法。

It said the government must buy four-and-one-half million ounces of silver each month. The Treasury Department would buy the silver with new paper money that could be exchanged for silver or gold. The new law increased the amount of silver money used in the United States.

法案规定政府每个月必须购买450万盎司的白银,财政部要用新发行的、可以直接兑换白银或黄金的纸币来购买这些白银。这项法案增加了美国银币的使用量。

The country soon became sharply divided on the issue of silver money.

而美国在银币问题上很快就分成了针锋相对的两大派。

Wealthy businessmen and bankers did not want to use silver money at all. They wanted the country's economy to be based only on gold. This was what was known as the gold standard. They believed the gold standard would keep the value of the dollar high. Using silver, they said, made the dollar less valuable.

有钱的商人和银行家根本就不想使用银币。他们希望美国经济只以黄金为基础,这也就是所谓的"金本位制"。他们认为,金本位能够确保美元的高价值,而如果使用银币,就会使美元贬值。

FRANK OLIVER: Farmers, laborers and others wanted to use silver money. And they wanted an unlimited supply of it. Without silver, they said, the country's money supply would be too small. Gold would increase in value. People who had borrowed money would be hurt. They would have to pay back loans with dollars that were more valuable than those they had borrowed.

而农民、工人和其他行业的人则希望使用银币,而且他们希望可以无限制地发行银币。他们说,如果没有银币,美国的货币供应量就会太少,黄金的价格将提高,这样,借贷人的利益就会受损,因为他们将不得不用已经升值的美元来偿还他们在美元低位时所借的债务。

President Cleveland supported the gold standard. He opposed any use of silver for money. He said the United States should use only gold, as other nations did.

克利夫兰总统支持金本位制,反对以任何形式使用银币。他说,美国应该和其它国家一样,只使用金币。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: President Cleveland was sure the silver purchase law of eighteen ninety had caused the economic depression. He explained the situation in this way:

他坚定地认为,是1890年的白银采购法引起了美国的经济萧条。他这样解释道:

The law had caused businessmen and investors to lose faith in the government's money policy. They were afraid their money would drop in value, as more silver money was put into use.

这部法案使商人和投资者不再信任政府的货币政策。他们担心,由于越来越多的银币投入使用,他们手中的货币会贬值。

Investors began to withdraw their money from businesses. Banks began demanding early payment of loans. Everyone wanted gold. They took their paper money and their silver to the government and exchanged them for gold.

于是,投资者开始从企业里撤出资金,银行开始要求债务人提早还款。每个人都只要黄金。他们把自己手中的纸币和银币拿到政府那里,兑换黄金。

In eighteen ninety, when the Silver Purchase Act was passed, the government held almost two hundred ninety million dollars in gold. After two years, withdrawals had cut that amount to one hundred million dollars.

1890年,也就是国会通过白银采购法案时,美国政府拥有近二亿九千万美元的黄金,而两年后,由于人们大量的兑换,政府手里只剩下了一亿美元的黄金。

FRANK OLIVER: President Cleveland and other administration officials began to worry. It was possible that gold holdings might fall so low the government could not support the dollar.

克利夫兰总统和政府其他官员开始担心了,因为黄金储备量可能降低到使政府无法再支撑美元的程度。

Cleveland decided the only answer was to get Congress to kill the silver purchase law. Then the government could stop buying silver. It could return to the gold standard.

克利夫兰认定,唯一的解决办法就是让国会撤销白银采购法,这样,政府就可以停止采购白银,从而回到金本位上来。

The Congress was not in session, however. It would not meet again for several months. President Cleveland did not want to wait. He believed the problem was too serious. So, he called a special session of Congress.

但当时国会正在休会,几个月后才能复会。克利夫兰总统不想等。他认为,问题太严重了,所以要求国会召开特别会议。

The president did not expect an easy time with the Congress. Many congressmen supported silver money -- especially those congressmen from silver-producing states in the west.

克利夫兰总统并不期望国会能轻易批准他的要求,因为许多国会议员,特别是那些来自白银生产地的议员都支持使用银币。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: President Cleveland believed he could get Congress to kill the silver purchase law. But if he showed any weakness, the fight would be lost. Then, just before the congressional debate, he learned he would need an operation.

克利夫兰总统坚信,他能让国会撤销白银采购法。但是,如果稍微表现出软弱的话,他与国会的斗争就会失败。然而,就在国会辩论即将开始之时,他却得知自己要接受一个手术。

He felt a rough spot in the top of his mouth. It got bigger and more painful. Doctors examined the spot. It was a cancer. President Cleveland asked how long he could wait to have the cancer removed. "If it were in my mouth," one of the doctors said, "I would have it removed immediately."

他觉得上颚有一个硬块,而且越来越大,越来越疼。医生检查了这个硬块,确诊是癌。克利夫兰总统问,他可以等多长时间再将这个肿瘤切除。一位医生说:"如果这个癌肿长在我自己嘴里,我马上就要切除它。"

FRANK OLIVER: Cleveland agreed. But he said the operation would have to be kept secret. News from the White House often affected short-term activity on the stock market. News that the president's life was in danger could cause the nation's economic crisis to become worse.

克利夫兰总统同意做手术,但他说,手术必须保密,因为白宫的任何风吹草动都能影响股市的短期交易行为,而"总统生命堪忧"这样的消息则会使美国的经济危机雪上加霜。

Cleveland decided to have the operation on a friend's boat in New York Harbor. Newsmen were told he was going sailing with his friend.

克利夫兰总统决定在朋友停泊在纽约港的一艘船上做手术,而对媒体就说,他和朋友一起出海去了。

Doctors made final preparations. They were not afraid of the operation. But they were afraid of what would happen if news of the operation were leaked to the press.

医生们做好了手术前的最后准备,他们并不担心手术,他们担心的是,如果总统做手术的消息泄露给媒体,将会发生什么情况。

One of them spoke with the boat's captain. "If you hit an underwater rock," he said, "hit it good and hard, so we will all go to the bottom."

一位医生对船长说:"如果你触礁,就狠狠地撞上去,让我们都沉入河底淹死。"

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: As the boat moved slowly up the East River in New York, the doctors put President Cleveland to sleep with an anesthetic drug. Then they began the operation. That will be our story in the next program of THE MAKING OF A NATION.

当船缓慢地沿纽约东河行驶时,医生们给克利夫兰总统注射麻醉药,让他入睡。然后,他们开始了手术。

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Shirley Griffith and Frank Oliver. 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.

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