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#142: Labor Unrest Grows as Cleveland's Measures Fail to Ease Recession

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Federal troops in Chicago battle strikers at the Pullman factory in 1894
Federal troops in Chicago battle strikers at the Pullman factory in 1894

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

This week in our series, Maurice Joyce and Frank Oliver continue the story of the man who served as America's twenty-second and twenty-fourth president, Grover Cleveland.

FRANK OLIVER:  Grover Cleveland began his second presidency in eighteen ninety-three. His two terms were separated by the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland took office again just as the United States was entering an economic depression. Businesses failed. Banks closed their doors. Workers lost their jobs. And farmers lost their farms.

克利夫兰1893年开始他第二个总统任期,他的两个总统任期之间隔着本杰明.哈里森总统。克利夫兰第二次当选时,美国经济正陷入萧条时期。公司倒闭,银行关门,工人失业,农民失去农场。

President Cleveland believed the depression was caused by the government's money policy. At that time, both gold and silver were used to support the value of the American dollar. In Europe, however, only gold was used. American investors and bankers were afraid their money would drop in value because of the use of silver. They began exchanging their money for gold.

克利夫兰总统认为,经济萧条是政府的货币政策造成的。当时,黄金和白银都被用来支撑美元。而在欧洲,只有黄金才被用来支撑本国货币。美国投资者和银行家担心,银币流通会使美元贬值,于是他们开始将美元兑换成黄金。

President Cleveland wanted to return to the gold standard, too. To do this, he had to urge Congress to kill a law which forced the government to buy silver.

克利夫兰总统也希望恢复实行金本位制,为此,他必须敦促国会取消一项强行要求政府购买白银的法律。

Before Congress began its debate, the president discovered a cancer in his mouth. The cancer needed to be removed immediately. But the operation had to be kept secret. News that the president's life was in danger could have an effect on the debate. It could make the nation's economic crisis worse.

而就在国会对此展开辩论之前,克利夫兰总统发现自己患有口腔癌,必须立即动手术,切掉癌肿。但手术必须秘密进行,因为有关总统有生命危险的消息一旦泄露,将会对国会的辩论产生影响,也会恶化美国的经济危机。

MAURICE JOYCE:  So, the operation was done on a private boat in New York Harbor. Doctors removed some of President Cleveland's teeth and much of his upper left jaw. Then they removed the cancer. The operation took only a half hour.

所以,手术在纽约港一艘私人船只上进行。医生拔掉了克利夫兰总统的几颗牙齿,切下了他的大部分左上颌,然后切除了癌肿。这次手术只用了半个小时。

After a few weeks, doctors made Cleveland a new jaw out of hard rubber. He wore it without difficulty. A newspaper printed a story about the operation. But administration officials denied it. The facts did not become public for many years.

几周后,医生用硬橡胶给克利夫兰总统做了一个新的上颌,总统很容易地戴上了它。有一家报纸报导了这次手术的消息,但官方拒绝承认。直到多年以后,官方才向大众公布了克利夫兰总统做手术的事情。

FRANK OLIVER:  When President Cleveland returned to Washington, he sent a message to members of Congress. He urged them to kill the law which forced the government to buy silver.

克利夫兰总统在返回华盛顿后,向国会议员传递信息,敦促他们取消迫使政府购买白银的法律。

He noted how people throughout the nation had been exchanging their paper money and silver for gold. He said he was afraid the federal treasury would soon run out of gold. Then it would have only silver to support the dollar. If that happened, he said, the United States no longer could claim to be a major nation.

他指出,全国各地的人都在将手中的美元和银币兑换成黄金。他担心,用不了多久,国库中的黄金就会被换光。到时,就只有银币来支撑美元了。如果真的如此,美国就会失去世界强国的地位。

President Cleveland said: "The people of the United States have a right to a money recognized as such on every exchange and in every market of the world. Their government has no right to injure them by financial experiments that are opposed to the policies of other nations."

克利夫兰总统说:"美国人民有权使用世界所有交易所、所有市场都认可的货币,他们的政府无权通过金融实验,用和其它国家相反的政策来伤害他们的利益。"

MAURICE JOYCE:  After the president's message was read, the House of Representatives began its debate. A young congressman from Nebraska spoke in opposition to the president's position. His part in the debate made him famous throughout the nation. His name was William Jennings Bryan.

总统的信宣读完毕,国会众议员们开始辩论。内布拉斯加州的一位年轻议员发表讲话,反对总统的观点。他的名字叫威廉.布莱恩,他在辩论中的表现使他闻名全国。

Bryan said the United States should continue to make and use both gold and silver money. Using only gold, he said, increased the value of the dollar. And that made life difficult for America's farmers and workers. They had to pay more to borrow money. And, for farmers, a more valuable dollar meant lower prices for crops.

布莱恩说,美国应该继续把黄金和白银都作为货币。他说,如果只使用黄金,美元就会升值,而这会使农民和工人陷入困境。因为他们借款的费用会增加,而且对于农民来说,美元变得更值钱意味着粮食价格降低。

William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan

Bryan described the situation this way: "On one side of the debate stand the business interests of the United States. On the other side stand the unnumbered masses. Work-worn and covered with dust, they make their appeal. But too often their cry for help has sounded hopelessly against the outer walls, while others -- less deserving -- find easy entrance to the halls of Congress.

布莱恩说:"辩论的一方是美国工商界的利益,另一方是无数普通大众的诉求。这些工作疲惫、满身灰尘的人提出自己的要求。但在太多时候,他们呼救的呐喊根本无法穿透国会大厦的外墙。而那些本不该得到政府帮助的人却能轻易地进入国会大厅。"

"The president is wrong to act on the demand of the business interests. He can no more judge the wishes of the great mass of our people by the words of these middlemen than he can measure the ocean's silent depths by the foam upon its waves."

总统应工商业界要求而动是错误的。正如一个人不能靠海浪上的泡沫来衡量大海沉静的深度一样,总统不能通过听信这些中间人的言词来判断广大人民的愿望。

FRANK OLIVER:  No other congressman spoke as well as William Jennings Bryan. Yet his words could not save the silver purchase law.

布莱恩的演说比其他议员的都精彩,但是这不能挽救白银采购法。

The House of Representatives approved President Cleveland's proposal to kill the law. The Senate did, too. The United States was firmly on the gold standard. Everyone -- especially President Cleveland -- waited for the economy to improve. It did not.

国会众议院通过了克利夫兰总统的建议,取消了白银采购法。参议院也通过了总统的建议。美国开始完全实行金本位制度。在这之后,所有人,特别是总统,都在等待美国经济状况出现改善。但结果却并非如此。

MAURICE JOYCE:  More businesses failed. More workers lost their jobs. Tens of thousands of men left their homes to look for work. Some of these men began to unite in protest groups they called "industrial armies."

更多的企业倒闭,更多的工人失业,数以万计的人离开家乡外出寻找工作,他们中的一些人开始联合起来,组成抗议团体,他们称之为"产业军"。

One industrial army was organized by a man named Jacob Coxey. Coxey proposed that the federal government should hire unemployed men to build roads. He said the government could borrow enough money to pay each man a dollar and a half a day.

有一支产业军是由一个名叫雅各布.科克塞的人组织起来的。科克塞建议联邦政府雇佣无业工人去修建道路。他说,政府可以筹到足够的资金,每天付给每个修路工一块半美元。

Coxey decided to take his proposal to Washington. He also decided to take his industrial army with him.

科克塞决定去华盛顿提交他的建议,并决定带领他的产业军成员一起去。

FRANK OLIVER:  Coxey's army marched many kilometers from Ohio to Washington. Hundreds of unemployed men joined in along the way. But by the time the army reached the capital, only three hundred men remained.

一些产业军成员在科克塞的带领下,踏上了去华盛顿的道路。他们从俄亥俄州向华盛顿进发,沿路又有数百名失业者加入他们的队伍。但在这支产业军到达首都华盛顿时,队伍里只剩下了三百人。

City officials barred Coxey's army from meeting on public property. They barred them from asking people for food or money. Jacob Coxey was ready for the worst. He said: "If my men starve in the streets of Washington, the smell of their bodies will force Congress to act."

市政官员禁止科克塞带领的产业军成员在公共场所集会,禁止他们向民众寻求食品和钱。科克塞已经做好了最坏的打算,他说:"如果我的人在华盛顿街头饿死,那么,他们尸体的味道将会迫使国会采取行动。"

Coxey tried to read a protest statement at the Capitol building. Police stopped him. The protestors then pushed forward in what police later called a riot. Several of the men -- including Coxey -- were arrested. A judge found Coxey guilty of violating public property. He sent him to jail for twenty days.

科克塞试图在国会大厦宣读一份抗议声明,但警察阻止了他。于是,抗议者向警察涌去。警方后来把这一行动定性为暴乱。包括科克塞在内的一些人被逮捕。法官判科克塞犯有毁坏公共财产罪,坐牢20天。

Without Coxey's leadership, his army broke up. Its members went home. Yet the economic and social pressures which created Coxey's army did not ease. Protests and strikes continued throughout the nation.

没有了科克塞的领导,他的产业军就解散了,人们打道回府。然而,导致科克塞产业军出现的经济和社会压力并没缓解。在美国各地,抗议和罢工此起彼伏。

MAURICE JOYCE:  The biggest strike started in Chicago against the Pullman Company, which made railroad cars.

规模最大的罢工出现在芝加哥,抗议对象是制造火车车厢的普尔曼公司。

The man who owned the company, George Pullman, also owned the town where his workers lived. He owned the stores, the houses, the schools, and the library.

公司老板乔治.普尔曼同时拥有公司工人们居住的小镇,以及镇上的商店、住房、学校和图书馆。

When the economic depression began in eighteen ninety-three, George Pullman cut the size of his work force. Those still working received less pay. Yet Pullman did not reduce the cost of rent for his houses. Anyone who protested lost his job.

1893年经济萧条开始以后,乔治.普尔曼裁减员工,减少留下的工人的工资。然而,他却没有降低工人们的房租。所有对此表示抗议的人都被开除了。

FRANK OLIVER:  In the spring of eighteen ninety-four, a labor union organizer went to George Pullman's town. He was Eugene Debs, leader of the American Railway Union.

1894年春天,一位工会组织者来到了乔治.普尔曼的小镇,他就是尤金.德布斯,美国铁路工会的领导人。

Pullman did not want his workers to belong to a union. But he did not stop them at first. More than four thousand workers joined.

普尔曼不想让他的工人参加工会,但刚开始时他并没有阻止。结果有四千多人参加了工会。

Immediately, the new union members voted to go on strike against the Pullman company. Other members of the union supported them. They agreed not to work on trains that included Pullman cars. Within a few days, sixty thousand railway workers were on strike. Twenty railroads were closed down.

这些新的工会成员马上投票,决定举行针对普尔曼公司的罢工,铁路工会的其他成员也支持他们,同意凡是遇到有普尔曼车厢的火车,他们就停止工作。几天之内,六万铁路工人参加了罢工,二十条铁路线停运。

Eugene Debs
Eugene Debs

Union leader Eugene Debs attempted to keep the strike peaceful. But he could not control strikers all over the country. So, railroad companies asked the federal government for troops to break the strike.

工会领导人德布斯试图让罢工和平进行,但他无法控制全国各地的罢工者。所以,铁路公司要求联邦政府派军队瓦解罢工。

MAURICE JOYCE:  The request involved a legal point. America's constitution says federal troops cannot be sent to a state unless the state government asks for them. And no state government had asked for them.

而这种要求有个法律问题。美国宪法规定,联邦军队只有在州政府的请求下才能进驻到某一个州,而现在并没有哪一个州请求联邦政府派兵。

President Cleveland met with his cabinet to discuss the railroad companies' request. They finally agreed to send federal troops to Chicago -- where the strike had started -- to enforce federal postal laws. The troops would protect trains carrying mail.

克利夫兰总统召集内阁会议,讨论铁路公司的请求。他们最终同意派联邦军队进入此次罢工的发源地--芝加哥,以确保联邦邮政法的执行。联邦军队将保护运送邮件的火车。

The arrival of the troops led to more violence. Eugene Debs and other leaders of the American Railway Union were arrested. The Pullman strike ended.

但是,联邦军队的到来引发了更多的暴力冲突。德布斯和美国铁路工会的其他领导人被捕。普尔曼罢工结束了。

FRANK OLIVER:  President Cleveland faced increasing political problems. Organized labor denounced him for using federal troops to break up the Pullman strike. Farmers and westerners attacked him for opposing the use of silver money. And everyone blamed him for not doing more to end the depression. These political problems would have a great effect on the next presidential election.

克利夫兰总统面临日益深化的政治矛盾:工会谴责他派联邦军队瓦解普尔曼罢工,农民和西部居民指责他反对使用银币,另外,每个人都责怪他没有做更多工作来扭转经济萧条的局面。而所有这些政治问题都将对下一次的总统大选产生重大影响。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

STEVE EMBER:  Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Maurice Joyce 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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