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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.

西奧多.羅斯福在20世紀初成為美國總統。當時,美國的科學技術正在迅猛發展。

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

然而許多人覺得,美國社會并沒有什么進步。他們要求在政治、工業和自然資源的使用方面進行改革。

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

羅斯福支持改革派的這些要求,他首先拿大企業開刀。

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.

二十世紀初,美國一些富有的鐵路公司老板決定把他們手中的鐵路合并在一起,并建立了一個托拉斯,控制合并后的鐵路。這個新公司將掌控美國西部所有的鐵路線,完全杜絕競爭的可能。

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.

羅斯??偨y認為,這個新的鐵路公司違犯了謝爾曼反托拉斯法。該法律規定,企業不得干預州與州之間的商貿活動。羅斯福說,他決不妥協,一定要嚴格執行謝爾曼反托拉斯法。他要求美國最高法院解散這個鐵路托拉斯。

"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."

羅斯福說:"我們并不是要攻擊這些大公司。我們只是在盡力消除大企業中邪惡的東西。我們對它們并沒有敵意,但我們認為,它們必須得到管束,這樣才能為公眾利益服務。"

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.

最高法院裁定鐵路托拉斯違法。后來的幾年中,其它的托拉斯也迎來了同樣的命運,都被解散了。這被美國人民稱為"摧毀托拉斯行動",而羅斯福則被稱為"托拉斯摧毀者"。

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."

羅斯福數次發表演講,闡釋自己對大企業的態度。他所到之處都受到了公眾的熱情支持。后來,他告訴一個朋友自己為什么這么受人民愛戴。他說:"我說出了他們心里、頭腦里所想,但卻說不出來的話。"

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.

而羅斯福對一起煤礦業勞資危機的處理使他贏得了更多的公眾支持。那次事件和美國歷史上的許多事件一樣,給總統出了一道考題,那就是,總統是否應該干預私營企業的事務。

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,美國爆發了煤礦工人大罷工。工人們要求增加工資,改善工作場所安全。煤礦主們則拒絕和工人談判,其中一個甚至出口侮辱礦工。

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."

這個煤礦主說:"工人的權益將得到保護和關照。但是,干這件事的不應是那些工人權益活動分子,而應是我們這些基督徒,睿智的上帝把管理美國財產利益的任務交給了我們。"

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

這種利用宗教給自己臉上貼金的說法使許多美國人支持罷工工人。

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.

幾個月后,羅斯??偨y邀請煤礦主和工會領袖們到華盛頓開會。他要求雙方牢記,他們的糾紛還涉及另一個團體的利益,那就是公眾。羅斯福警告說,罷工再這么持續下去,美國人也許就得過一個沒有暖氣的冬天了。

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

羅斯福說:"我開這個會并不是為了討論你們各自的主張和立場,而是為了喚起你們的愛國之心。"

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.

工會領袖表示,愿意讓總統指派一個獨立委員會來解決罷工事件。他們將接受這個委員會作出的決定。但是,煤礦主們拒絕這么做。一個煤礦主甚至警告說,這種做法,總統最好連提都不要提,因為總統干涉私營企業是違法的。

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."

這激怒了羅斯福。他事后說:"要不是礙于總統的身份,我當時就會抓著他的屁股和后脖梗子,把他順著窗戶扔出去!"

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.

羅斯??偨y最終說服煤礦主和工會領導人進行妥協。煤礦主們同意由一個獨立委員會調查礦工們的要求,而礦工們也同意在調查結束前先返回工作崗位。

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.

幾個月后,調查報告出來了。這個委員會建議,礦工們接受比原先要求少一些的工資漲幅,以換取工作環境的改善。勞資雙方都接受了這一建議。罷工結束了。

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.

但并不是所有人都滿意。許多人依然覺得,羅斯福無權干涉私營企業。但羅斯福不同意這種觀點。他說:"我的工作就是確保人們能公平競爭,不管是資本家還是工人。我要做的就是保證每個人都得到公平的對待。不多不少,不偏不倚。"羅斯福認為,美國需要一個強有力的領導者。他打算利用一切機會增強總統的權力。

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."

羅斯福是一個活躍、愛出風頭的人。一位作家曾經這樣形容他:"羅斯福永遠是活動的中心。參加婚禮時,他希望自己是新娘。參加葬禮時,他希望自己是死去的那個人。"

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."

羅斯福的許多朋友認為他是個大男孩。一個朋友說:"你必須記住,總統大概齊就是個6歲的孩子。"另外一位朋友在羅斯福46歲生日的時候這樣對他說:"你的人生已經有了成功的開端。我們對你長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."

羅斯??釔蹜敉膺\動。他尤其喜歡美國美麗的自然風光。不過,他也為自然環境的未來感到擔憂。他寫道:"我意識到我們這代人在開發和使用美國富饒自然資源上所擁有的權利和責任。但是,我們沒有權利浪費自然資源,也無權通過自己的浪費行為搶奪子孫后代的財富。"

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.

羅斯福將大片森林劃歸國家使用。他設立了50個特別區域,保護那里的野生動物。他還建立了許多國家公園。

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."

羅斯福以處理國內事務時的干勁和能力去處理外交政策。他堅信,美國必須擴展在世界各地的影響力。他說:"對于是否要成為世界強國,我們無從選擇。我們可以決定的只是,是糟糕地還是成功地扮演強國的角色。"

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.

羅斯福說,要想成功地發揮強國的作用,美國需要一支強大的海軍,還需要一條橫跨中美洲的運河。這樣,海軍就可以在大西洋和太平洋之間迅速調遣。

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.

很多年來,人們夢想有這么一條航道。如果橫貫中美洲的運河開通,船只就可以在大西洋和太平洋之間直航,而不必費時費錢地長途航行,繞道南美洲的最南端。

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.

最有可能修建運河的地方位于美洲大陸最狹窄的地方:巴拿馬。另外一個地點在稍微靠北的尼加拉瓜。

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

多年來,人們曾幾次試圖開鑿這條運河。

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世紀80年代,蘇伊士運河的修建者斐迪南·德·雷賽布在法國成立了一家公司,試圖修建跨越巴拿馬的運河。德·雷賽布花了3億美元,但只修建了運河的三分之一。由于得不到更多資金,他的公司破產了。

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世紀90年代,一個美國公司試圖橫跨尼加拉瓜開鑿運河,但是沒有取得什么成果。三年后,這家公司放棄了努力。西奧多.羅斯福20世紀初成為美國總統后,他準備再試一次。

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.

工程師們展開了研究工作,以確定到底是在巴拿馬還是尼加拉瓜修運河。他們認為,如果在20年前德·雷賽布在巴拿馬修運河的地方接著修,就可以節省一些資金。不過,德·雷賽布的公司依然擁有修建運河那塊土地的所有權,所以美國必須把這片土地和運河的修建權都買過來。

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.

研究的結果是,從整體上看,還是在尼加拉瓜建運河比較省錢。于是,這個計劃被提交給國會,等待批準。

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.666321.live. 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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