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#149: Teddy Roosevelt Wrestles Powerful Business Interests as President

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"Who is master?" A cartoon from the New York Herald shows Theodore Roosevelt struggling with a wrestler representing the railroads, as Uncle Sam watches.

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

Theodore Roosevelt became president of the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was a time of great technological progress in the United States.

西奥多.罗斯福在20世纪初成为美国总统。当时,美国的科学技术正在迅猛发展。

Yet many people felt that there was too little social progress. They demanded reforms in politics, industry and the use of natural resources.

然而许多人觉得,美国社会并没有什么进步。他们要求在政治、工业和自然资源的使用方面进行改革。

Theodore Roosevelt supported this call for reforms. His first target was big business.

罗斯福支持改革派的这些要求,他首先拿大企业开刀。

This week in our series, Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe continue the story of the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt.

KAY GALLANT: In the early nineteen hundreds, a group of wealthy American businessmen agreed to join their railroads. They formed a company, or trust, to control the joint railroad. The new company would have complete control of rail transportation in the American West. There would be no competition.

二十世纪初,美国一些富有的铁路公司老板决定把他们手中的铁路合并在一起,并建立了一个托拉斯,控制合并后的铁路。这个新公司将掌控美国西部所有的铁路线,完全杜绝竞争的可能。

President Roosevelt believed the new company violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Law. The law said it was illegal for businesses to interfere with trade among the states. Roosevelt said he would make no compromises in enforcing the law. He asked the Supreme Court to break up the railroad trust.

罗斯福总统认为,这个新的铁路公司违犯了谢尔曼反托拉斯法。该法律规定,企业不得干预州与州之间的商贸活动。罗斯福说,他决不妥协,一定要严格执行谢尔曼反托拉斯法。他要求美国最高法院解散这个铁路托拉斯。

"We are not," Roosevelt said, "attacking these big companies. We are only trying to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them. But we believe they must be controlled to serve the public good."

罗斯福说:"我们并不是要攻击这些大公司。我们只是在尽力消除大企业中邪恶的东西。我们对它们并没有敌意,但我们认为,它们必须得到管束,这样才能为公众利益服务。"

HARRY MONROE: The Supreme Court ruled against the railroad trust. In the next few years, other trusts would be broken up in the same way. The American people called this trust-busting. And they called Theodore Roosevelt the trust-buster.

最高法院裁定铁路托拉斯违法。后来的几年中,其它的托拉斯也迎来了同样的命运,都被解散了。这被美国人民称为"摧毁托拉斯行动",而罗斯福则被称为"托拉斯摧毁者"。

Roosevelt made several speeches explaining his position on big business. Everywhere he went, he found wide public support. Later, he told a friend why people liked him so well. He said: "I put into words what is in their hearts and minds, but not in their mouths."

罗斯福数次发表演讲,阐释自己对大企业的态度。他所到之处都受到了公众的热情支持。后来,他告诉一个朋友自己为什么这么受人民爱戴。他说:"我说出了他们心里、头脑里所想,但却说不出来的话。"

KAY GALLANT: President Roosevelt won even more public support for his actions during a labor crisis in the coal industry. The incident was one of many in American history in which a president had to decide if he should interfere in private industry.

而罗斯福对一起煤矿业劳资危机的处理使他赢得了更多的公众支持。那次事件和美国历史上的许多事件一样,给总统出了一道考题,那就是,总统是否应该干预私营企业的事务。

Coal miners went on strike in the spring of nineteen-oh-two. They demanded more pay and safer working conditions. Mine owners refused to negotiate. One even insulted the miners.

1902年春天,美国爆发了煤矿工人大罢工。工人们要求增加工资,改善工作场所安全。煤矿主们则拒绝和工人谈判,其中一个甚至出口侮辱矿工。

A cartoon shows Roosevelt trying to contain the coal strike as other problems await
A cartoon shows Roosevelt trying to contain the coal strike as other problems await

He said: "The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for. It will not be the labor activists who take care of him. It will be the Christian men to whom God in his great wisdom has given the control of the property interests of this country."

这个煤矿主说:"工人的权益将得到保护和关照。但是,干这件事的不应是那些工人权益活动分子,而应是我们这些基督徒,睿智的上帝把管理美国财产利益的任务交给了我们。"

This self-serving use of religion made many Americans support the striking workers.

这种利用宗教给自己脸上贴金的说法使许多美国人支持罢工工人。

HARRY MONROE: After several months, President Roosevelt invited coal mine owners and union leaders to a meeting in Washington. He asked them to keep in mind that a third group was involved in their dispute: the public. He warned that the nation faced the possibility of a winter without heating fuel.

几个月后,罗斯福总统邀请煤矿主和工会领袖们到华盛顿开会。他要求双方牢记,他们的纠纷还涉及另一个团体的利益,那就是公众。罗斯福警告说,罢工再这么持续下去,美国人也许就得过一个没有暖气的冬天了。

Roosevelt said: "I did not call this meeting to discuss your claims and positions. I called it to appeal to your love of country."

罗斯福说:"我开这个会并不是为了讨论你们各自的主张和立场,而是为了唤起你们的爱国之心。"

The union leaders said they were willing to have the president appoint an independent committee to settle the strike. They said they would accept the committee's decision as final. The mine owners rejected the idea. One warned the president not even to talk about it. Such talk, he said, was illegal interference in private industry.

工会领袖表示,愿意让总统指派一个独立委员会来解决罢工事件。他们将接受这个委员会作出的决定。但是,煤矿主们拒绝这么做。一个煤矿主甚至警告说,这种做法,总统最好连提都不要提,因为总统干涉私营企业是违法的。

KAY GALLANT: That made Theodore Roosevelt angry. Later, he said: "If it were not for the high office I held, I would have taken him by the seat of the pants and the nape of the neck and thrown him out the window."

这激怒了罗斯福。他事后说:"要不是碍于总统的身份,我当时就会抓着他的屁股和后脖梗子,把他顺着窗户扔出去!"

Finally, Roosevelt got both sides to agree to a compromise. Mine owners agreed to have an independent committee study the miners' demands. And the miners' agreed to return to work until the study was completed.

罗斯福总统最终说服煤矿主和工会领导人进行妥协。煤矿主们同意由一个独立委员会调查矿工们的要求,而矿工们也同意在调查结束前先返回工作岗位。

Several months later, the report was ready. The committee proposed that miners accept a smaller pay increase in exchange for improved working conditions. Both sides accepted the proposal. The coal strike ended.

几个月后,调查报告出来了。这个委员会建议,矿工们接受比原先要求少一些的工资涨幅,以换取工作环境的改善。劳资双方都接受了这一建议。罢工结束了。

HARRY MONROE: Not everyone was happy. Many people still felt Roosevelt had no right to interfere. Roosevelt disagreed. "My business," he said, "is to see fair play among all men -- capitalists or wage-workers. All I want to do is see that every man has a fair deal. No more, no less." Roosevelt believed the United States needed a strong leader. He planned to strengthen the presidency whenever he could.

但并不是所有人都满意。许多人依然觉得,罗斯福无权干涉私营企业。但罗斯福不同意这种观点。他说:"我的工作就是确保人们能公平竞争,不管是资本家还是工人。我要做的就是保证每个人都得到公平的对待。不多不少,不偏不倚。"罗斯福认为,美国需要一个强有力的领导者。他打算利用一切机会增强总统的权力。

Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was an active, noisy man. As one writer described him: "Theodore is always the center of action. When he goes to a wedding, he wants to be the bride. When he goes to a funeral, he wants to be the dead man."

罗斯福是一个活跃、爱出风头的人。一位作家曾经这样形容他:"罗斯福永远是活动的中心。参加婚礼时,他希望自己是新娘。参加葬礼时,他希望自己是死去的那个人。"

Many of Roosevelt's friends thought he was an over-grown boy. "You must always remember," one said, "that the president is about six years old." Another friend sent this message to Roosevelt on his forty-sixth birthday: "You have made a very good start in life. We have great hopes for you when you grow up."

罗斯福的许多朋友认为他是个大男孩。一个朋友说:"你必须记住,总统大概齐就是个6岁的孩子。"另外一位朋友在罗斯福46岁生日的时候这样对他说:"你的人生已经有了成功的开端。我们对你长大后的前途寄予厚望。"

KAY GALLANT: Theodore Roosevelt loved outdoor activities. He especially loved the natural beauty of the land. He worried about its future. Roosevelt wrote: "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural riches of our land. But I do not recognize the right to waste them, nor to rob -- by wasteful use -- the generations that come after us."

罗斯福酷爱户外运动。他尤其喜欢美国美丽的自然风光。不过,他也为自然环境的未来感到担忧。他写道:"我意识到我们这代人在开发和使用美国富饶自然资源上所拥有的权利和责任。但是,我们没有权利浪费自然资源,也无权通过自己的浪费行为抢夺子孙后代的财富。"

Roosevelt set aside large areas of forest land for national use. He created fifty special areas to protect wildlife. And he established a number of national parks.

罗斯福将大片森林划归国家使用。他设立了50个特别区域,保护那里的野生动物。他还建立了许多国家公园。

HARRY MONROE: Theodore Roosevelt faced the responsibilities of foreign policy with the same strength he used in facing national problems. He firmly believed in expanding American power in the world. "We have no choice," he said, "as to whether or not we will play a great part in the world. All that we can decide is whether we will play our part well or poorly."

罗斯福以处理国内事务时的干劲和能力去处理外交政策。他坚信,美国必须扩展在世界各地的影响力。他说:"对于是否要成为世界强国,我们无从选择。我们可以决定的只是,是糟糕地还是成功地扮演强国的角色。"

To play well, Roosevelt said, the United States needed a strong Navy. It also needed a canal across Central America so the Navy could sail quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

罗斯福说,要想成功地发挥强国的作用,美国需要一支强大的海军,还需要一条横跨中美洲的运河。这样,海军就可以在大西洋和太平洋之间迅速调遣。

KAY GALLANT: For many years, people had dreamed of such a waterway. With a canal across Central America, ships could sail directly from ocean to ocean. They would not have to make the long, costly voyage around the southern end of South America.

很多年来,人们梦想有这么一条航道。如果横贯中美洲的运河开通,船只就可以在大西洋和太平洋之间直航,而不必费时费钱地长途航行,绕道南美洲的最南端。

The most likely place to build such a canal was at the thinnest point of land: Panama. Another possible place was just to the north: Nicaragua.

最有可能修建运河的地方位于美洲大陆最狭窄的地方:巴拿马。另外一个地点在稍微靠北的尼加拉瓜。

Over the years, several attempts were made to build the canal.

多年来,人们曾几次试图开凿这条运河。

President Roosevelt, center, discussing America's task with workmen at Bas Obispo on the Panama Canal in 1906
President Roosevelt, center, discussing America's task with workmen at Bas Obispo on the Panama Canal in 1906

HARRY MONROE: In the eighteen eighties, Ferdinand de Lesseps -- builder of the Suez Canal -- formed a French company to build a waterway across Panama. De Lesseps spent three hundred million dollars to build just one-third of the canal. He could get no more money. His company failed.

19世纪80年代,苏伊士运河的修建者斐迪南·德·雷赛布在法国成立了一家公司,试图修建跨越巴拿马的运河。德·雷赛布花了3亿美元,但只修建了运河的三分之一。由于得不到更多资金,他的公司破产了。

In the eighteen nineties, an American company tried to build a canal across Nicaragua. It made little progress. After three years, it gave up the attempt. When Theodore Roosevelt became president in the early nineteen hundreds, he was ready to try again.

19世纪90年代,一个美国公司试图横跨尼加拉瓜开凿运河,但是没有取得什么成果。三年后,这家公司放弃了努力。西奥多.罗斯福20世纪初成为美国总统后,他准备再试一次。

KAY GALLANT: A study was made to decide which would be a better place for the canal -- Panama or Nicaragua. Engineers said it would cost less to complete the canal De Lesseps had started twenty years earlier in Panama. But De Lesseps' company still owned the land on which the canal would be built. The United States would have to buy the land, as well as the rights to build the waterway.

工程师们展开了研究工作,以确定到底是在巴拿马还是尼加拉瓜修运河。他们认为,如果在20年前德·雷赛布在巴拿马修运河的地方接着修,就可以节省一些资金。不过,德·雷赛布的公司依然拥有修建运河那块土地的所有权,所以美国必须把这片土地和运河的修建权都买过来。

The study decided it would be less costly, overall, to build the canal in Nicaragua. The proposal went to the United States Congress for approval.

研究的结果是,从整体上看,还是在尼加拉瓜建运河比较省钱。于是,这个计划被提交给国会,等待批准。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: 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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