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#152: Taft Wins Presidency Promising Continued Reform

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William Howard Taft, center, speaking from the back of a rail car during the presidential campaign of 1908
William Howard Taft, center, speaking from the back of a rail car during the presidential campaign of 1908

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

The United States did not play a very large part in world events during the eighteen hundreds. At the beginning of the nineteen hundreds, however, it expanded its interests throughout the world.

19世纪,美国在世界事务中并没有扮演特别重要的角色。而在20世纪初,美国把自己的利益扩展到了世界各地。

America's president at that time strongly supported the expansion. He was Theodore Roosevelt, a distantly related cousin of the future president Franklin Roosevelt.

当时的美国总统也非常支持这种扩张,他就是西奥多.罗斯福,美国第二十六任总统。美国后来还出过一位叫罗斯福的总统,就是富兰克林.罗斯福,这两位罗斯福是远房表兄弟。

This week in our series, Shirley Griffith and Frank Oliver complete the story of America's twenty-sixth president, who was also known as Teddy.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  Theodore Roosevelt became president in nineteen-oh-one after the assassination of President William McKinley. He completed the last three years of McKinley's term. Then he was elected in his own right. Those four years are spoken of as Roosevelt's second term.

西奥多·罗斯福是1901年麦金利总统遇刺身亡后成为美国总统的。他干完了麦金利剩下了三年任期,然后自己竞选,当上了总统。这接下来的四年被称为罗斯福的第二个任期。

It was during this second term that Roosevelt gained his most important foreign policy success. He negotiated an end to a war between Russia and Japan. Later, he was asked to settle another international dispute. At issue was Morocco.

正是在这个"第二任期"中,罗斯福取得了他外交政策上最重要的成功。在他的调解斡旋下,俄罗斯和日本结束了战争。后来,他又被邀请去解决另一场国际争端。这次的问题出在摩洛哥。

A cartoon from Harper's Magazine shows President Roosevelt carrying his
A cartoon from Harper's Magazine shows President Roosevelt carrying his "big stick" while trying to end a dispute of European powers over Morocco

FRANK OLIVER:  In nineteen-oh-four, France and Britain signed an agreement on North Africa. The agreement gave Britain control over Egypt. It gave France responsibility for security and reforms in Morocco. Germany opposed the agreement. It felt threatened by any French-British alliance. And it feared France would block German trade ties with Morocco.

1904年,法国和英国签定了关于北非地区的协议。根据协议,英国获得了对埃及的控制权,而法国要负责摩洛哥的安全和改革。德国反对这项协议,感觉任何英法联盟都是对自己的威胁。德国还担心法国会切断德国同摩洛哥的贸易往来。

Germany demanded an "open door" policy that would permit all countries to trade freely in Morocco. It proposed an international conference to settle the dispute. France and Britain rejected the idea. The ruler of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm the Second, warned that the dispute could lead to war. The Kaiser asked Theodore Roosevelt to intervene.

德国要求实行"门户开放"政策,使所有国家都可以同摩洛哥进行自由贸易。德国提出召开国际会议来解决纠纷,但法国和英国不同意。德国当时的统治者威廉二世警告说,这一纠纷可能会引发战争,他请罗斯福出面干预。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  President Roosevelt agreed to help. Some American lawmakers criticized him. They said it was an American tradition not to get involved in European disputes. But Roosevelt believed peace was more important than tradition. He set up the conference in the Spanish seaport of Algeciras. Twelve European nations and the United States attended.

罗斯福答应帮忙。不过一些美国议员批评说,美国历来不插手欧洲纠纷。但罗斯福认为,和平比传统更重要。他在西班牙港口城市阿尔赫西拉斯组织召开会议,12个欧洲国家和美国与会。

The conference agreed to an open door trade policy in Morocco. It organized an international bank to control Morocco's finances. And it gave France and Spain almost complete control over police forces in Morocco's port cities.

会上,各国同意在摩洛哥实行门户开放政策,并成立了一个国际银行,控制摩洛哥的财政。大会还允许法国和西班牙控制摩洛哥各港口城市的几乎所有警力。

FRANK OLIVER:  Theodore Roosevelt had become a powerful world leader. At home, however, he was losing power.

罗斯福成了极有影响力的世界领袖,但在美国国内他的权力却在减弱。

One reason was an economic depression. Business leaders blamed it on Roosevelt. They said it was the result of his efforts to gain government control over industry. The other reason was one he had created himself.

造成这个情况的一个原因是经济萧条。商界领袖们把这怪到罗斯福头上。他们说,这是罗斯福非要让政府控制产业界的结果。罗斯福权力减弱的另外一个原因则是他自己造成的。

At that time, there was no law limiting a president's term in office. But America's first president, George Washington, had established a tradition of only two terms. When Theodore Roosevelt won the election of nineteen-oh-four, he announced he would not be a candidate in nineteen-oh-eight. He had completed the term of President McKinley. He would serve a full term of his own. That was enough. Later, he said: "I would be willing to cut off my hand if I could call back that statement."

当时,美国法律并不限制一个人最多能当几届总统。但是,美国第一任总统乔治·华盛顿建立了一个不成文的传统,那就是总统最多干两届。西奥多.罗斯福1904年赢得总统选举时,他曾宣布,自己不会参加1908年的选举。他干完了麦金利总统剩下的任期,并自己干满另外一任,这就够了。他后来说:"如果能让我把那句话收回来,砍掉我一只手我都愿意。"

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  During his last year in office, Roosevelt was a "lame duck" president. Everyone knew he would not be back. There was little political reason to support him.

在罗斯福任期的最后一年,他成了"跛脚鸭"总统。所有人都知道他不可能连任,所以从政治上也没必要支持他了。

He faced increased opposition from Congress and from his own Republican Party. His final message to Congress was extremely bitter.

结果,罗斯福受到国会和共和党越来越大的阻力,他在国会发表的最后一场演说充满了怒气。

President Roosevelt accused Congress and the court system of working only to help rich Americans. He called for a tax on earnings. He called for legislation to give workers a greater share of the nation's wealth. The House of Representatives voted to reject the message. It said Roosevelt had failed to show respect for the legislative branch of government.

他指责国会和司法部门只为美国的富人服务,他提出开征所得税。他要求国会立法,让工人分享更多的国家财富。国会众议院投票否决了这些提议,并说罗斯福对政府立法机构不够尊敬。

FRANK OLIVER:  Roosevelt refused to give up hope for the policies he believed America needed. He would not be able to fight for these policies himself. But he could find a presidential candidate who would. He was sure the people would vote for his choice. He decided on his close friend, Secretary of War William Howard Taft.

罗斯福没有放弃希望,继续力推那些他认为有必要的政策。单靠他自己的力量是不行的,但他可以找到一位有这种能力的总统候选人。他确信,人民会投票支持他选中的候选人。这个人就是罗斯福的密友、当时的战争部长威廉·霍华德.塔夫脱。

William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft

Taft had spent most of his life in government service. He had been a judge in both a state court and a federal court. He had been a lawyer in the justice department. And he had been governor of the Philippines.

塔夫脱在政府中供职已久,曾经担任过州法院和联邦法院的法官,还当过司法部的律师和菲律宾总督。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  There was one problem, however. Taft did not want to be president. He really wanted to be Chief Justice of the United States. But there were no immediate openings on the Supreme Court. Also, his wife, his brothers, and his good friend -- Theodore Roosevelt -- urged him to run. So, Taft agreed to be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in nineteen-oh-eight.

可问题是,塔夫脱不想当总统,而是一心想当美国最高法院首席大法官。不过当时,最高法院并没有空缺。他的妻子、兄弟以及好朋友西奥多.罗斯福都劝他竞选总统。于是,塔夫脱同意成为1908年总统大选的共和党候选人。

When he won the nomination, Taft said: "Mister Roosevelt led the way to reform. My job -- if elected -- will be to complete and perfect his programs."

获得党内提名后,他说:"罗斯福先生领导我们走上了改革之路,如果当选总统,我的任务就是完成和完善他的计划。"

The Democratic Party nominated William Jennings Bryan. Bryan had been a candidate two times before, without success.

民主党提名布莱恩为候选人。此前,他曾两次被提名为候选人,但都没能当选。

FRANK OLIVER:  The presidential campaign was not especially exciting. William Howard Taft did not like being on the campaign trail. He was a big, heavy man. He did not like to travel. Roosevelt urged him to campaign with more energy.

1908年的总统选举不怎么精彩。塔夫脱不喜欢出去竞选拉票。他身材魁梧、富态,不喜欢长途跋涉。罗斯福敦促他把更多精力投入竞选活动中。

"Hit hard, old man," Roosevelt said. "Make the people see the truth. Let them know that for all your gentleness and kindliness, there never existed a man who was a better fighter when the need arose."

他说:"老兄,你得加把劲儿。要让人们看到真正的你,要让他们知道,你虽然看着温和、好说话,但一旦有需要,你会是最强的斗士!"

Roosevelt's advice and strong support helped Taft win a big victory on election day.

罗斯福的建议和坚定支持帮塔夫脱在选举日大获全胜。

William Howard Taft with Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft with Theodore Roosevelt

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  A few weeks after Taft was sworn-in as president, Roosevelt left on a year-long trip overseas. He spent most of the time hunting wild animals in Africa.

在塔夫脱宣誓就职后几个星期,罗斯福开始去国外游历一年,大部分时间在非洲打猎。

President Taft wrote a warm goodbye letter to his friend. He promised to do his best as president. But he admitted he could not lead as Roosevelt had done. In fact, Taft said, he was still surprised when anyone called him "Mister President." Each time it happened, he turned around to see if Roosevelt was there.

塔夫脱给罗斯福写了一封热情洋溢的告别信,他承诺要尽心尽力当好总统。不过他也承认,自己不能像罗斯福那样领导众人。塔夫脱说,当别人称他"总统先生"时,他依然感到吃惊。一听到"总统先生"这几个字,他就会四下里找罗斯福,觉得别人在叫罗斯福。

FRANK OLIVER:  There was no question that Taft's way of leading was much different from Roosevelt's. Taft believed a president should not interfere too deeply in the actions of Congress. He also believed a president should not claim special powers or rights. He believed in the supreme power of the law...even if the law did not work very well.

毫无疑问,塔夫脱的领导风格和罗斯福的迥然不同。塔夫脱认为,总统不应过深地干预国会的行动,他还认为,总统不应该要求特殊的权力和权益。他认为,法律才应是至高无上的,即使是不怎么发挥作用的法律。

The progressives who had supported Roosevelt did not support Taft. They said he was too friendly with conservatives. They said he had surrendered to special interest groups. Taft, for his part, did not like progressives. He thought they were too emotional and extreme.

曾经支持罗斯福的进步派人士没有支持塔夫脱。他们认为塔夫脱对保守派太客气了,说他向特殊利益集团屈服。塔夫脱自己也不喜欢进步派,觉得这些人太感情用事,太极端。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  Yet Taft worked hard to put into law many parts of Roosevelt's progressive programs. He was successful in several areas.

不过,塔夫脱尽力把罗斯福的许多进步主义政策和措施确立为法律。他在几个领域取得了成功。

A cartoon in the magazine
A cartoon in the magazine "Judge" urging President Taft to have his own policies and not follow those of President Roosevelt who served before him

During his administration, for example, a separate Department of Labor was established. Two Constitutional amendments won congressional approval and were sent to the states for ratification.

比如,在他执政期间,政府建立了独立的劳工部,两条宪法修正案获得国会批准,被送交各州认可。

One amendment provided for a federal tax on earnings. The other provided for direct, popular election of senators. Taft also worked even harder than Roosevelt to break up companies, or trusts, that blocked economic competition.

其中一项修正案规定联邦政府征收所得税,另一个修正案规定由选民直接选举联邦参议员。此外,在瓦解阻碍经济竞争的托拉斯集团方面,塔夫脱做得比罗斯福还要努力。

FRANK OLIVER:  At the same time, Taft failed in several areas.

但同时,塔夫脱也在一些方面遭遇了失败。

He signed legislation that lowered import taxes. Neither businessmen nor progressive Republicans liked it. He negotiated a free trade agreement with Canada. The Canadian parliament rejected it.  He believed in protecting America's wilderness areas. Yet he did not believe existing laws gave him the right to close public lands to private development. So he was seen as an enemy of conservation.

他签署了降低进口关税的法案,引起商人和进步派共和党人的不满。他和加拿大谈成了一项自由贸易协定,但遭到了加拿大国会的拒绝。塔夫脱想要保护美国的野生自然区域,但他又觉得现有法律并没有授权去阻止私人公司开发公共土地。结果,他被看成是环保的敌人。

These struggles and failures made Taft's four years as president the unhappiest of his life.

这些斗争和失败使当总统的这四年成为塔夫脱人生中最不快乐的一段时光。

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  The final blow came in an effort to reduce the powers of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The speaker was a conservative Republican. Progressive Republicans opposed him. The issue split the party.

最后的打击来到了,起因是是否要削弱众议院议长的权力。当时的议长是保守派共和党人,他遭到进步派共和党的反对。这使共和党陷入分裂。

Theodore Roosevelt -- far from home -- read about the trouble. He had promised to stay out of politics. But each of the opposing groups in his party had asked for his support.

远在海外的罗斯福得知了这件麻烦事。虽然他已经承诺不问政治,但共和党的两派力量都找到他,希望能得到他的支持。

(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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