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#134: Chester Arthur's Term Marked by Disputes Within His Party

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Chester Arthur
Chester Arthur

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

President James Garfield was shot and seriously wounded in the summer of eighteen eighty-one. The man who shot him said he supported the political group that supported Vice President Chester Arthur.

1881年夏天,詹姆士.加菲尔德总统遭枪手刺杀,伤势严重。行刺的人说,他拥护那个支持副总统切斯特.亚瑟的政治团体。

The gunman was found to be insane. But some people were ready to believe the worst about Vice President Arthur. They knew that many of the vice president's political allies disliked President Garfield. They thought the vice president might have helped the gunman in some way.

这名刺客是个疯子,不过,许多人真的认为副总统参与了这次刺杀行动。他们知道,副总统的许多政治盟友不喜欢加菲尔德总统,所以,副总统也许通过某种方式给凶手提供了帮助。

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant tell what happened after President Garfield was shot.

HARRY MONROE:  For a time, it seemed the President might get better. But the bullet wound became infected. He died of the infection two months after he was shot. Vice President Arthur took the oath of office a few hours after the president's death.

加菲尔德总统的伤势曾一度好转,但是,伤口感染,两个月后,总统去逝。几个小时之后,副总统亚瑟宣誓就任总统。

Vice President Chester Arthur takes the oath of office after the death of President James Garfield
Vice President Chester Arthur takes the oath of office after the death of President James Garfield

Chester Arthur had been a successful lawyer. He had worked in politics for a number of years. But he had never before held an elected office. Many Americans questioned his ability to serve in the White House. One person put it this way: "Chet Arthur -- president of the United States. Good God!"

亚瑟曾经是一位成功的律师,他从政也有几年时间了,但他此前从来没有担任过公职。许多美国人质疑他是否能胜任总统之职。有一个人甚至说:"老天爷啊,连亚瑟都能当美国总统啦?!"

KAY GALLANT:  Almost everyone feared Arthur would be a tool of a Republican Party leader in New York, Roscoe Conkling. They were sure Conkling would be the real power in Arthur's administration. They were wrong. Chester Arthur surprised everyone. He broke all his ties with the Conkling political machine. He remained independent of any party group.

几乎所有的美国人都担心,亚瑟会成为来自纽约的共和党大佬康克林的政治工具,他们肯定,康克林将掌握亚瑟政府的实权。然而,他们猜错了。亚瑟让所有人大吃一惊。他切断了与康克林政治集团的所有关联,独立于所有党派之外。

Arthur asked Garfield's cabinet to resign. He chose new men for all but one department.

亚瑟要求加菲尔德总统的内阁辞职,除一位部长外,他重新任命了其他所有的内阁部长。

HARRY MONROE:  In his first message to Congress, President Arthur asked for changes in the way government jobs were filled. He proposed a new civil service system that would let ability -- not politics -- decide who got government jobs.

他向国会提出的第一项要求是改革联邦政府的招聘制度。亚瑟总统提出了一项新的公务员制度,依个人能力而不是政治因素来决定聘任谁。

Republican Party leaders opposed these proposals. The civil service system would stop them from giving federal jobs to their supporters. It would destroy much of their power.

共和党领导人反对这些建议,因为新的制度将使他们无法为自己的支持者谋得联邦政府的职务,而这将使他们失去很多权力。

These Republican leaders controlled Congress. They refused to act on the civil service proposals.

当时,这些共和党领导人控制着国会,所以他们对总统提议的新公务员制度不予理会。

KAY GALLANT:  Civil service reform, however, was an important issue. President Garfield had been assassinated by a man who believed he should have gotten a government job because of his politics. Also, new cases of dishonesty had been discovered in the Post Office department. The public began to demand laws to clean up the civil service.

然而,公务员制度改革是一个十分重要的议题。刺杀加菲尔德总统的人就认为,依照自己的政治背景,自己本应获得政府职务。同时,在美国邮政部出现了新的腐败问题。所以公众开始要求净化公务员队伍。

In eighteen eighty-two, a new Congress was elected. The new Congress was controlled by the Democratic Party.

1882年,新一届国会产生了,民主党人得到了国会的控制权。

President Arthur again appealed for civil service reform. This time, he got results. The new Congress passed a civil service bill that required ten percent of all federal jobs to be filled through competitive examinations. This ten percent included half the officials in the Post Office Department. It included most workers at federal customs houses.

亚瑟总统再次提出进行公务员制度改革。这次,他取得了一些成功。新一届国会通过一项公务员法,要求百分之10的联邦政府职位以竞争考试的方式选人。这百分之10的岗位包括邮政部一半的工作机会,还包括海关的绝大多数工作。

The bill also said it was illegal for politicians to ask government employees for campaign money. And it set up a civil service committee to enforce the new law.

新法律还规定,政客们不能要求政府雇员为其竞选提供资金。国会还专门成立了一个公务员委员会,确保新法的实施。

HARRY MONROE:  President Arthur also found himself faced with an unusual problem. The government was earning more money than it needed. Most of the money came from tariffs -- taxes on imports. Each year, tariffs brought in one hundred million dollars more than the government needed.

亚瑟总统遇到的另一个问题是,政府每年获得的收入超过了支出所需。当时,美国政府的绝大部分收入来自进口关税。每年,关税带来的财政收入比政府所需的资金多出一亿美元。

The import taxes had been set high to protect American industries from foreign competition. President Arthur wanted to reduce the tariffs. Congress wanted to keep them high. Industrial leaders wanted to keep them high, too. They did not want to compete with low-priced foreign products.

征收高关税原本是为了保护美国的民族工业免受外国产品的冲击。亚瑟总统想降低关税。但国会却想保持高关税。产业界的领袖们也想保持高关税,因为他们不想与外国的低价产品竞争。

KAY GALLANT:  Congress saw no problem with the extra money brought in by high tariffs. It found many ways to spend it.

国会认为通过高关税获得额外收入没什么问题,而且想到很多办法把这些钱花出去。

For example, Congress raised payments to soldiers who had fought in the Civil War during the eighteen sixties. It also approved money to build roads, bridges, and waterways throughout the country. Many of these things were not needed. They were approved for political purposes. They put government money into the home areas of powerful congressmen.

比如,国会提高了内战士兵的津贴,还批准预算,用于在全国各地兴建道路、桥梁和河道。然而,许多这样的工程是没有必要的,批准它们只是出于政治目的。国会把政府的钱用在了一些重量级议员的家乡建设上。

In eighteen eighty-two, Congress passed the "Rivers and Harbors Bill." The bill would cost almost nineteen million dollars. President Arthur vetoed the bill. He said it would waste too much money. But Congress passed the bill into law over his veto.

1882年,国会通过了《河流和港口法案》,法案将耗资近一千九百万美元。亚瑟总统否决了这个议案,但国会驳回否决,硬是通过了议案,使之成了法律。

HARRY MONROE:  Next, President Arthur urged Congress to form a committee to find a way to reduce tariffs. Congress formed the committee. The committee proposed that tariffs be reduced by twenty percent. But Congress did not consider the proposal when it began debating a new tariff bill.

后来,亚瑟总统又敦促国会成立一个委员会,研究如何减低关税。国会成立了这个委员会。委员会建议将关税降低百分之20。然而,国会在开始讨论一项新的关税议案时,却对委员会的建议只字未提。

President Arthur was more successful in getting Congress to reduce the public debt. During his term, the debt was cut by more than four hundred million dollars.

同减低关税相比,亚瑟总统在促使国会削减公共债务方面取得了更多的成功。在他的任期内,公共债务减少了四亿多美元。

KAY GALLANT:  Chester Arthur's efforts for honest government and lower taxes won him much support among the people. But he could not win the support of his Republican Party.

亚瑟总统上台后推动改革,虽然他在廉政和降低关税方面所做的努力使他赢得了民众的支持,但他却没有获得自己的政党--共和党的支持。

Arthur wanted to serve another four years in the White House. His name was put before the Republican nominating convention in eighteen eighty-four. The name of Senator James Blaine of Maine also was put before the convention.

亚瑟希望能连任。1884年,他成为共和党总统候选人提名大会考虑的人选之一,另一位候选人是来自缅因州的国会参议员詹姆士.布莱恩。

On the first ballot, Blaine received three hundred thirty-four votes. Arthur got only two hundred seventy-eight. Three ballots later, Blaine won the presidential nomination.

在第一轮投票中,布莱恩获得334张选票,而亚瑟只获得278张选票。三轮投票过后,布莱恩获得共和党总统候选人提名。

However, many Republicans refused to support Blaine. They accused him of being dishonest. They said he was controlled by powerful politicians.

然而,许多共和党人拒绝支持布莱恩,他们指责他为人不正,是有权势的共和党大佬们的傀儡。

HARRY MONROE:  The Democratic Party chose New York Governor Grover Cleveland as its presidential candidate. Like Chester Arthur at the national level, Grover Cleveland was known for fighting dishonesty in government at the local level.

民主党推选纽约州州长格罗弗.克利夫兰为总统候选人。和亚瑟在全国建立廉洁政府一样,克利夫兰以在地方上反腐败而出名。

Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland

He began as mayor of the city of Buffalo, New York. He cleaned up the city government and saved the taxpayers much money. Next, he was elected governor of New York state. There, too, he helped end dishonesty in government.

克利夫兰最初是纽约州布法罗市的市长。他清理市政府内的腐败行为,为纳税人节省了很多钱。后来,克利夫兰当选为纽约州州长,同样致力于在州政府内反腐败。

Cleveland refused to give jobs to Democrats because of their political ties. Instead, he filled state jobs with men of ability. This early success helped him win the Democratic presidential nomination.

克利夫兰拒绝将政府的工作机会交给有政治背景的民主党人,而是在州政府里雇用那些有能力的人。这些政绩使他获得了民主党的总统候选人提名。

KAY GALLANT:  The campaign of eighteen eighty-four between Republican Blaine and Democrat Cleveland was one of the most bitter in American political history.

1884年的总统选举在共和党的布莱恩和民主党的克利夫兰之间进行,是美国历史上竞争最激烈的总统选举之一。

A group of Republicans who opposed Blaine published letters to prove he was dishonest. Blaine had written the letters several years earlier during a shameful incident concerning the sale of railroad stock. Now, he was forced to defend himself against those old charges.

一伙反对布莱恩的共和党人发表了一些信件,以证明布莱恩为人不老实。这些信是布莱恩很多年前写的,当时他卷入了一桩出售铁路股票的丑闻。现在,他不得不为这些陈年旧帐而辩解。

HARRY MONROE:  Blaine's supporters fought back by discovering a scandal in Cleveland's past. Grover Cleveland had never married. But more than ten years earlier, he had been involved with a young woman. The woman gave birth to a boy. Cleveland was not sure the boy was his son. But he accepted responsibility for the child. He sent money to help care for him.

布莱恩的支持者进行反击,挖出了克利夫兰过去的一个污点。克利夫兰从来没结过婚,但在十多年前,他结识过一位年轻的女士。这位女士后来生下了一个男孩。克利夫兰不能肯定自己是孩子的父亲,但他承担起了抚养孩子的责任,经常给孩子寄钱。

A Republican newspaper published the story. Soon, Republican crowds were shouting a joke about it. "Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa. Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!"

一家共和党的报纸刊登了这件事,很快,共和党支持者们开始拿这件事开玩笑,大喊:"妈妈!妈妈!我的爸爸在哪?他到白宫去了,哈哈哈!"

KAY GALLANT:  Both candidates campaigned hard. It was clear to everyone that the vote would be close.

两位候选人都全力竞选。所有人都看得出,两人的选票会非常接近。

Election day was cold and rainy. Early results showed the two candidates with almost the same number of electoral votes. The winner would be the one who captured a majority of the popular votes in New York state. That candidate would then get all of New York's electoral votes.

选举日那天,下着雨,非常寒冷。初步计票结果显示,两人所获的选举人票几乎相等,而获得大多数纽约州选民票的人将获得胜利。这是因为,一旦获得大多数纽约州选民票,就将获得纽约州所有的选举人票。

It was not until three days after the voting that election officials announced Cleveland had won. His victory set off wild celebrations among Democrats across the country. Grover Cleveland really was going to the White House -- ha ha ha! His election would bring some important changes to the country.

选举日后的第三天,选举官员才终于公布了结果。他们宣布克利夫兰获胜。全国各地的民主党人狂欢庆祝。他们高呼,克利夫兰真的要去白宫了,哈哈哈! 克利夫兰的当选将给美国带来许多重大的变化。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant.  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 #134

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