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#143: McKinley and the Gold Standard Win in 1896

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A 1896 campaign poster for William McKinley and Garrett Hobart showing the candidates' support for sound money based on gold and protective tariffs
A 1896 campaign poster for William McKinley and Garrett Hobart showing the candidates' support for sound money based on gold and protective tariffs

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

In the eighteen nineties, the American people were deeply divided over the nation's money system. Should the United States support its currency with gold or with gold and silver? This question became the main issue in the presidential election of eighteen ninety-six.

十九世纪九十年代,美国人对货币政策问题存在非常对立的看法。是用黄金支持美元,还是以黄金和白银共同支持美元呢?这个问题成了1896年总统大选中的一个主要议题。

This week in our series, Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe tell the story of that election.

KAY GALLANT:  Many Americans wanted a gold standard. They said the United States should support its money only with gold. A gold standard, they said, would keep the value of the dollar high. These people were called "gold bugs." Most were businessmen, bankers, and investors.

许多美国人希望实行金本位货币政策。他们说,美国应该只用黄金来支持纸币,金本位制能够使美元保持高币值。这些人被称为"金本位制论者",大多是商人、银行家和投资者。

Many other Americans wanted the United States to support its money with both gold and silver. They thought the value of the dollar was too high. A high dollar, they said, drove down prices for agricultural products. A silver standard would lower the value of the dollar. These people were called "silverites."Most were farmers, laborers, and owners of small businesses."

而其他许多人希望美国实行以金银共同支撑美元的货币政策。他们认为,当时的美元币值过高,而这会拉低农产品价格,而实行银本位制可以降低美元币值。这些人被称为"金银双本位制论者",大多是农民、工人和小企业主。

HARRY MONROE:  The debate over gold and silver was especially important because of an economic depression that began in the United States in eighteen ninety-three. Thousands of banks and businesses closed. Millions of men lost their jobs. Foreign investors withdrew their money from America. Americans who had money were afraid to invest it.

美国自1893年开始陷入经济萧条,这使得有关金银的争论更重要了。当时,数千家银行和企业倒闭,数百万人失业,外国投资者从美国撤资,而那些有钱的美国人也不敢投资。

Many people believed the depression would end if the government issued more paper money backed by silver.

许多人认为,如果政府发行更多受白银支撑的货币,就能结束经济萧条。

President Grover Cleveland disagreed. And he opposed any legislation that might threaten the gold standard. He noted that every major nation supported its paper money with gold. The United States would be foolish, he said, not to do the same. It could not stand apart from the world's other money systems.

然而,克利夫兰总统并不这么认为,而且他反对任何想动摇金本位的法案。他指出,世界上所有大国都用黄金支撑货币,如果美国不这么做,就是愚蠢的行为。他说,美国不能孤立于世界其它货币体系之外。

KAY GALLANT:  President Cleveland belonged to the Democratic Party. By eighteen ninety-six, many Democrats had become silverites. They gained control of party organizations in several western and southern states. They called Cleveland a traitor to his party and to the American people. They did not want him to be the party's candidate in that year's election.

克利夫兰总统是民主党人。到1896年,已经有许多民主党人成了金银双本位制论者,这些人在西部和南部各州掌控了民主党。他们把克利夫兰称为民主党和美国人民的叛徒,不希望克利夫兰代表民主党参加1896年的总统选举。

The Republican Party also was divided over the issue of gold and silver. Some members from silver-mining states in the west left the party. Others remained in the party, but gave support secretly to silverite Democrats.

共和党也在金银货币政策上分裂成两派。一些来自西部银矿区的成员脱离了共和党,另一些虽然还留在共和党内,但偷偷支持民主党的金银双本位制论者。

Republicans had done well in the congressional elections of eighteen ninety-four. They won control of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Party leaders were sure a Republican could be elected president in eighteen ninety-six. The most likely candidate appeared to be Governor William McKinley of Ohio.

共和党在1894年的国会中期选举中战绩不错,取得了参众两院的控制权。共和党领导人确信,共和党能够赢得1896年大选,而最有希望的候选人是俄亥俄州州长威廉.麦金利。

William McKinley
William McKinley

HARRY MONROE:  McKinley was, in fact, nominated on the first ballot at the Republican convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

结果,当共和党在密苏里州圣路易斯举行总统候选人提名大会时,麦金利在第一轮投票中就获胜了。

The Democratic Party held its nominating convention in Chicago, Illinois. The most likely candidate was Congressman Richard Bland of Missouri. A majority of convention delegates, however, were silverites. And they expected to nominate a silverite candidate.

民主党的总统候选人提名大会在伊利诺斯州芝加哥举行,最有可能获得提名的是密苏里州的众议员理查德.布兰德。然而,参加提名大会的代表大多是金银双本位制论者,他们希望从自己的阵营中选出总统候选人。

Supporters of President Cleveland wanted to test the silverites' strength. They demanded a debate on the gold-silver issue.

克利夫兰总统的支持者想试探一下金银双本位制论者的力量,他们要求就金银问题进行一场辩论。

Several men spoke in support of President Cleveland and the gold standard. Several spoke in support of silver. The last to speak was Congressman William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska. He had led an unsuccessful fight in Congress to keep America using silver.

一些人发表演说,支持克利夫兰总统和金本位制,另一些人发表演说,支持银币政策。最后发言的是来自内布拉斯加州的国会众议员威廉·詹宁斯·布莱恩,他曾经在国会中领导过一次试图保持银币政策的斗争,但是失败了。

KAY GALLANT:  Bryan spoke emotionally during the convention debate. He said he represented America's farmers, laborers, and small businessmen who wanted a silver standard.

布莱恩在大会辩论中激动地演说。他表示,他代表的是农民、工人和小企业主的立场,而这些人都希望实行银币制。

A cartoon from the magazine
A cartoon from the magazine "Judge" criticizing William Jennings Bryan for his "Cross of Gold" speech. The cartoon charges Mister Bryan with disrespect for religion

Bryan ended his speech with a line that became famous during the campaign. It called to mind the torture and death of Jesus Christ. Bryan said gold supporters could not force their money system on silver supporters. "You shall not," he said, "crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

布莱恩演讲的最后一句话成了总统竞选期间的名言。这句话让人们想起耶稣基督所受的酷刑和最终的死亡。布莱恩说,金本位制的支持者不能将他们喜欢的货币政策强加给银币支持者,他说:"你们不能将人类钉死在黄金的十字架上。"

With those words, William Jennings Bryan won the nomination away from Congressman Bland. He would be the Democrats' presidential candidate. He was just thirty-six years old.

就凭这句话,布莱恩击败了布兰德议员,赢得了民主党总统提名。当时,他只有36岁。

HARRY MONROE:  A number of Democrats refused to accept Bryan as their candidate. They withdrew from the Chicago convention and held one of their own. They called themselves National Democrats. They nominated candidates for president and vice president. But they did not win many votes in the election.

不过,许多民主党人拒绝接受布莱恩为总统候选人,他们退出民主党大会,召开了自己的提名大会。他们自称为国家民主党人,并推选出自己的总统和副总统候选人。不过,这些候选人在总统大选中并没有获得多少选票。

America's third party at that time -- The People's Party -- had a difficult decision to make.

当时美国的第三个政党--人民党,也面临着艰难的抉择。

Populists, as they were called, agreed with silverite Democrats that the United States should have a silver standard. So, some believed the party should unite with the Democrats to support democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan. If they did not, Republican William McKinley was sure to win the election.

人民党党员,即民粹主义者,支持民主党内的银币政策者,认为美国应该实行银本位政策。所以,有些人民党党员觉得,他们应该与民主党联合,支持民主党总统候选人威廉·布莱恩,因为如果他们不这样做,共和党的候选人麦金利就肯定会赢得总统选举。

Other populists feared that such a union would mean the end of the People's Party.

但其他人民党党员则担心,这种联合将意味着人民党的终结。

William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan

The populists solved the problem at their nominating convention. Like the Democrats, they chose Bryan to be their candidate for president. But they chose a different candidate for vice president. In this way, William Jennings Bryan was able to run for president at the head of two separate political parties.

好在人民党在自己的提名大会上解决了这个问题。和民主党一样,他们也推选布莱恩为总统候选人,但却推选了另外一位副总统候选人。这样,布莱恩就以两个不同政党的领导人的身份参加竞选了。

KAY GALLANT:  There was a great difference in the way the two presidential candidates campaigned. William McKinley refused to travel. Instead of going to the voters, he let the voters come to him. And they did. Railroad companies supported McKinley. They ran special trains to his home in Ohio. The trip was free.

在这次大选中,两位候选人以完全不同的方式开展选举。麦金利拒绝外出巡回拉票,他不去找选民,而是让选民来找他。选民还真这么做了。铁路公司都支持麦金利,它们开通了免费的特别专列,直接通往麦金利在俄亥俄州的家。

Each trip was the same. A band met the train and marched with the group to McKinley's home. McKinley came outside to hear a statement of support from the leader of the group. Then he made a short speech and shook hands. The group left and another one came.

每趟专列都受到同样的接待:一支乐队会在列车抵达时接站,然后和乘客们一起浩浩荡荡前往麦金利的家。麦金利从家中走出,聆听支持者代表的讲话,然后他发表一个简短的演说,并和支持者们握手。一批支持者离开后,麦金利再如此这般接待下一群支持者。

On one day of the campaign, McKinley met thirty groups this way. That was more than eighty thousand people.

在竞选期间,麦金利曾在一天之内这样接待过30批支持者,人数超过8万。

HARRY MONROE:  While McKinley stayed at home, William Jennings Bryan travelled. He visited twenty-seven states and spoke to five million people. Bryan explained that he had to travel, because the Democratic Party did not have enough money to campaign in other ways. Bryan spent six hundred fifty-thousand dollars on his campaign. McKinley spent three-and-a-half-million dollars.

就在麦金利在家开展竞选的同时,布莱恩则四处拉票。他去了27个州,向500万人发表演说。他说,自己必须这么做,因为民主党的资金不足以支撑他以别的方式竞选。在这次竞选活动中,布莱恩花了65万美元,而麦金利花了350万美元。

Bryan's main campaign idea was that the gold standard would ruin America's economy. McKinley's main campaign idea was that silver money would ruin the economy. For a time, Bryan's campaign seemed to be succeeding. More and more people promised to support him. Then, in the final weeks before election day, the situation began to change.

布莱恩的竞选核心是,金本位会摧毁美国的经济,而麦金利的竞选核心是银币会摧毁美国的经济。一度,布莱恩的竞选似乎成功了,越来越多的人承诺会支持他。然而,就在选举日的前几周,形势开始发生变化。

The depressed economy showed signs of improving. The price of wheat rose for the first time in several years. Perhaps, people said, it was wrong to blame gold for the depression. Perhaps, they said, the ideas of William Jennings Bryan were wrong.

萧条的美国经济出现了好转的迹象。小麦价格几年来首次上涨。于是人们说,也许将经济萧条归咎于金本位制是错误的,也许布莱恩的竞选理念是错误的。

KAY GALLANT:  On election day, it was soon clear who had won. McKinley received two hundred seventy electoral votes. Bryan received one hundred seventy-six.

在选举日那天,形势很快就明朗化了。麦金利获得了270张选举人票,而布莱恩只获得176张。

Bryan congratulated McKinley. Then he told his supporters to begin getting ready for the next presidential election. "If we are right about silver," Bryan said, "we will win four years from now."

布莱恩向麦金利表示祝贺,然后他告诉支持者们,马上开始为下一次总统大选做准备。他说:"如果我们的银币政策是正确的话,那么四年后我们将会取得胜利。"

HARRY MONROE:  McKinley's election seemed to give new life to the American economy. Within a month, a business publication reported that buying and selling had increased greatly. It said demand for goods had led to the re-opening of factories closed during the depression.

麦金利的当选似乎给美国经济注入了新的活力。在他当选一个月内,一家商业报刊就报导说,购销活动大幅增加,人们对商品的需求使那些在萧条时期关门的工厂又重新开工了。

At the same time, new supplies of gold were discovered in Alaska, Australia, and South Africa. The extra gold increased the supply of money in the same way silver would have increased it.

与此同时,人们在阿拉斯加、澳大利亚和南非发现了新的金矿。更多的黄金起到了和使用银币同样的效果,那就是增加了货币的供应量。

Taxes on imported goods rose to almost sixty percent. Under this protective tariff, American industry grew fast. The depression ended.

同时,对进口产品征收的关税增长到了近百分之60。在关税的保护下,美国产业快速发展,经济萧条结束了。

KAY GALLANT:  The economic depression of the eighteen nineties forced Americans to worry first about developments at home. But there were a number of international developments then which involved the United States.

十九世纪九十年代美国的经济萧条迫使美国人把国内经济发展看成头等大事。其实,当时许多国际问题也都与美国有关。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

STEVE EMBER:  Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe. 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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