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        #180: An Angry Nation Puts Its Hopes in President Roosevelt

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-10-2013

        Herbert Hoover, left, and Franklin Roosevelt in Washington on Inauguration Day
        Herbert Hoover, left, and Franklin Roosevelt in Washington on Inauguration Day

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember with Shirley Griffith. This week in our series, we begin the story of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

        (MUSIC)

        In nineteen thirty-two Americans were tired of the policies of Republican President Herbert Hoover. They thought Hoover had done too little to fight the depression that was crushing the economy.

        They gave a big victory to Franklin Roosevelt and his Democrats in the elections that year. Roosevelt believed that the federal government should do more to help average Americans.

        The election brought hope to many Americans in the autumn of nineteen thirty-two. But Roosevelt did not become president until March of nineteen thirty-three, four months after the election. And those months saw the American economy fall to its lowest level in the history of the nation.

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: President Hoover tried to arrange a world economic conference. And he called on President-elect Roosevelt to join him in making conservative statements in support of business.

        Roosevelt refused. He did not think it was correct to begin acting like a president until he actually became the president. He did not want to tie himself to policies that the voters had just rejected.

        Congress, controlled by Democrats, also refused to help Hoover.

        STEVE EMBER: It was a strange period, a season of uncertainty and anger. The economy was worse than ever. The lines of people waiting for food were longer than before. Angry mobs of farmers were gathering in the countryside. And the politicians in Washington seemed unable to work together to end the crisis.

        Hoover said, We are at the end of our rope. There is nothing more we can do. And across the country, Americans waited -- worried, uncertain, afraid. What would the new president do?

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: The new president was fifty-one years old. His family name was well-known to the American public. Theodore Roosevelt -- a distant family member -- had served as one of America's greatest presidents thirty years earlier.

        Franklin Roosevelt was born to a rich and important New York family. He went to the best schools: Groton, Harvard and Columbia Law School. In nineteen ten, he won election to the New York State Legislature. He showed great intelligence and political understanding as a state senator, and worked hard for other Democratic candidates.

        Franklin Roosevelt next served as assistant secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson. And in nineteen twenty, he was the Democratic Party's unsuccessful candidate for vice president.

        STEVE EMBER: The next year, Roosevelt suffered a personal tragedy. He was sailing during a holiday with his family. Suddenly, his body became cold. He felt severe pain in his back and legs. Doctors came. But the pain got worse. For weeks, Roosevelt was forced to lie on his back.

        Finally, doctors discovered that Roosevelt was a victim of polio. He lost control of his legs because of the disease. He would never walk again.

        Roosevelt had always been an active man who loved sports. But now he would have to live with a wheelchair. All of his money and fame could not get him back the strength in his legs.

        President Roosevelt in 1933
        President Roosevelt in 1933

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Many Americans thought the illness would end Roosevelt's political dreams. But they were wrong. He showed an inner strength that people had never seen in him before.

        Roosevelt ran as the Democratic candidate for governor of New York state in nineteen twenty-eight. He won by a small number of votes.

        Two years later, the voters of New York re-elected Roosevelt. And they cheered his creative efforts to help citizens of the state who were suffering from the Great Depression.

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: Franklin Roosevelt always appeared strong and friendly in public. He loved to laugh and enjoy life. But his happy face hid a strong will.

        Throughout his life, Roosevelt worked to improve life for the common man. And he was willing to use the power of government to do this. He thought the government had the power and responsibility to improve the life of its citizens.

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Roosevelt believed deeply in this. But he was less certain about the best way to do it. "Above all, we must try something," he said during the presidential campaign of nineteen thirty-two. Roosevelt believed that the country demanded creative experimentation.

        Americans in large numbers across the country voted for Roosevelt in nineteen thirty-two. They supported his calls for action to end the depression. But no one was really sure just what this new president from New York -- this man unable to walk -- would really do after he entered the White House.

        President Roosevelt's inauguration ceremony in Washington
        President Roosevelt's inauguration ceremony in Washington

        STEVE EMBER: Inauguration Day in nineteen thirty-three began with clouds and a dark sky. Roosevelt went to church in the morning. And then he drove with President Hoover from the White House to the Capitol, the building where Congress meets.

        Roosevelt tried to talk with Hoover as they drove. But Hoover said little. He just waved without emotion at the crowd.

        The two men arrived at the Capitol. A huge crowd of people waited. Millions more Americans listened to a radio broadcast of the ceremony. The chief justice of the United States, Charles Evans Hughes, gave the oath of office to Roosevelt.

        And then Americans waited to hear what the nation's thirty-second president would say.

        He told them he was sure they expected him to speak openly and honestly about the situation facing the country. He told them that their great nation would survive as it had survived in the past. That it would recover and become rich again.

        He talked about the danger of fear -- a nameless fear that blocked efforts to move forward. And he talked about Americans giving their support to honest, active leadership in every dark hour of their history.

        Here is some of Roosevelt's inaugural address in his own words.

        PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT: "This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Roosevelt's words caught the emotions of the crowd. He seemed sure of himself. He promised leadership. His whole style was different from the empty promises of wealth offered by President Hoover.

        PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT: "Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days my friends will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men."

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Roosevelt said that the most important need was to put people back to work. And he said the federal government would have to take an active part in creating jobs.

        Roosevelt said there were many ways to help the nation recover. But he said it would never be helped just by talking about it. "We must act," he said, "and act quickly."

        STEVE EMBER: Roosevelt had a strong and serious look on his face. He told the crowd that all the necessary action was possible under the American system of government. But he warned that Congress must cooperate with him to get the nation moving again.

        Then, his speech finished, Roosevelt waved to the crowd and smiled. Herbert Hoover shook his hand and left. Roosevelt rode alone through the huge crowds back to the White House. And he immediately began a series of conferences.

        SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Roosevelt's inauguration speech of nineteen thirty-three was one of the most powerful and important speeches in American history. Roosevelt's speech was like an ocean wave that washes away one period of history and brings in a new one. The president seemed strong. He gave people hope.

        The new president promised the American people action. And action came quickly. During the next three months, Roosevelt and the Democrats would pass more major new programs than the nation had seen in many years.

        We look at this beginning of the Roosevelt administration in our next program.

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: Our program was written by David Jarmul. With Shirley Griffith, I'm Steve Ember. You can find our series online with pictures, transcripts, MP3s and podcasts at www.squishedblueberries.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.

        ___

        This is program #180

        1932年,美國人厭倦了共和黨總統胡佛的政策,他們認為胡佛在導致經濟崩潰的大蕭條中無所作為。這一年,選民在總統大選中將巨大的勝利送給了富蘭克林.羅斯福和民主黨。

        羅斯福認為聯邦政府在幫助普通民眾方面應該承擔更多的責任。1932年秋天的選舉給許多美國人帶來了希望。但羅斯福在大選結束的四個月后,也就是要等到1933年3月才能宣誓就職。在這幾個月中,美國經濟進一步惡化,到有史以來的最壞水平。

        胡佛總統試圖召開世界經濟會議,邀請當選總統羅斯福與他一起發表支持企業發展的保守聲明。羅斯福表示拒絕,他認為在他正式成為總統之前不應參與總統事務,而且他也不想把自己與選民已經明確表示反對的政策聯系在一起。同樣,受民主黨控制的國會也拒絕幫助胡佛。

        這是一個充滿動蕩、群情激忿的時期。經濟走入低谷,領取食品的隊越排越長,鄉村里隨處可見憤怒的暴民,而華盛頓的政客們卻又不能共同努力,設法擺脫危機。胡佛說,我們已經束手無策,無技可施了。與此同時,全國人民都在等待,他們對新總統將會做些什么充滿著擔心、不確定和恐懼。

        新總統羅斯福51歲,出身名門。三十年前美國歷史上最偉大的總統之一西奧多.羅斯福,就是他的遠親。富蘭克林.羅斯福出生于這樣一個富裕而又名聲顯赫的紐約家庭,畢業于最好的學校:格羅頓、哈佛和哥倫比亞大學法學院。

        1910年,他成功當選紐約州議員。他向人們展現了非凡的才能和政治理解力,并為其他民主黨候選人的競選積極努力。富蘭克林.羅斯福曾在伍德羅.威爾遜總統任期內擔任海軍部長助理,1920年成為民主黨副總統候選人并落選。

        一年后羅斯福遭受重大不幸。他與家人外出度假航行時,突然身體變得冰冷,后背和雙腿異常痛疼,而且越來越嚴重。幾星期里,羅斯福一直被迫臥床。最后,醫生診斷羅斯福得了脊髓灰質炎,他的雙腿失去知覺,再也無法行走了。羅斯福原本是個非常喜愛運動的人,但現在他不得不坐在輪椅上。所有的金錢和聲名都無法讓他再次站立起來。

        許多美國人認為,羅斯福的病痛將終結他的政治夢想,但他們錯了。羅斯福向人們展現出他非凡的內在力量。1928年羅斯福作為民主黨紐約州州長候選人積極參選,他以微弱多數贏得了這次競選。兩年后,羅斯福當選連任,選民們為他在大蕭條時期幫助民眾的創造性努力而歡呼。

        富蘭克林.羅斯福在公眾面前總是那樣的強壯和友善,他喜歡說笑,喜歡享受生活。他樂觀的外表下蘊涵著堅強的意志??v觀他的一生,羅斯福一直為改善普通人的生活而努力,他愿意利用政府的力量來做到這一點。他認為政府有能力并且有責任提高民眾的生活水平。

        對此,羅斯福深信不疑,但對如何更好地做到這一點,并不十分確定。在1932年的總統大選期間,他曾經這樣說過:最重要的是,我們必須嘗試著去做些什么。羅斯福相信,全國民眾都要求他進行創造性的改革。

        在1932年的大選中,絕大多數選民都把票投給了羅斯福,支持他所提倡的為結束大蕭條而行動起來的呼吁,但沒有人能真正肯定,這位來自紐約州的,不能走路的新總統,在入主白宮后會做些什么。

        1933年總統宣誓就職那天,天氣多霧,天空陰暗。一大早,羅斯福前往教堂,然后與胡佛總統一起離開白宮前往國會。在途中,羅斯福試圖與胡佛總統交談,但胡佛沉默寡言,只是毫無表情地向圍觀的民眾揮手致意。

        聚集在國會的大量民眾等候他們的到來。數百萬美國人也守候在收音機旁收聽典禮。美國首席大法官查爾斯.埃文斯.休斯主持了羅斯??偨y的就職典禮。然后美國人民靜靜等待,想聽聽這位美國第32任總統會說些什么。

        羅斯福對全國人民說,他堅信人民期望他坦誠布公地講述美國當前所面臨的形勢。他說,他們偉大的國家一定能像過去一樣經受住苦難, 并將再次繁榮。他談到,真正的危險是恐懼,那種阻礙人們努力向前的難以名狀的恐懼。他還談到,在美國歷史上每一個黑暗的時期,人們都賦予領導層有力的支持。

        羅斯??偨y說:我們偉大的祖國將戰勝磨難,經受考驗,終將恢復,再次繁榮。所以首先,請允許我堅定我的信念:我們唯一該恐懼的是恐懼本身,是那種難以名狀的、盲目的、毫無根據的恐懼,這種恐懼阻礙了我們前進的努力。

        羅斯福的話在現場觀眾中引起了共鳴。羅斯福充滿自信,他答應領導全國人民渡過難關。他的風格與滿是空洞許諾的胡佛大相徑庭。

        羅斯??偨y說:幸福并非建立在對金錢的擁有上,而是源于取得成就的喜悅和創造所帶來的激動。切莫在瘋狂追逐瞬間即逝的利潤時忘記工作所帶來的喜悅和激動。在這些陰暗的日子里,我的同胞們所付出的代價是值得的。如果這些時日能夠讓我們認識到,我們不該聽從任命運的擺布,而應該讓命運為我們自己,為我們的同胞服務。

        羅斯福說,當前最重要的是讓幫助民眾就業,他還說,聯邦政府應當在創造就業中扮演重要角色。羅斯福還說,讓國家從大蕭條中恢復過來有許多辦法,但如果僅僅停留在口頭上則將于事無補。我們必須行動起來,他說,而且是立即行動起來。

        羅斯福講話時神情堅定、嚴肅。他對在場民眾說,將在聯邦政府體制內采取所有必要措施。但他也警告說,國會必須與他合作,使國家能再次回到發展的軌道上來。

        演說結束后,羅斯福面帶微笑向人群揮手致意。胡佛與他握手后離開。羅斯福穿過人群回到白宮,立即召開一系列會議。1933年羅斯福的就職演說是美國歷史上最為重要、最有影響的就職演說之一。羅斯福的演說就像是海浪一樣,沖走了一段歷史,迎來了一個新時代。

        羅斯福堅定有力,給人民帶來了希望。羅斯福向人民承諾要采取行動,并立即付諸行動。在此后的三個月里,羅斯福和他的民主黨所通過的新項目比以前數年通過的項目還要多。

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