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        #185: End of the New Deal

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-15-2013

        Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States.
        Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States.

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

        By the middle of the nineteen thirties, America seemed to be moving out of the worst depression in its history. Most people supported the "New Deal" policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

        The dark view that many Americans held during the final days of President Herbert Hoover's administration seemed to be changing. People began to believe that the United States was facing its problems with energy and hope.

        This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Jack Wietzel tell more about the New Deal programs of President Roosevelt.

        HARRY MONROE: The change could be seen in the way that Americans were moving away from extreme political movements of both the Right and the Left. Many decided that the best solution was to work through the existing political system.

        Most importantly, Roosevelt's continued experiments with different programs showed Americans that they did not have to blindly follow political or economic traditions.

        For years, most Americans had accepted the basic ideas of traditional free market capitalism. But as the depression began, a small number of Americans became interested in the economic ideas of Karl Marx.

        Roosevelt believed it was best to travel a path between these two opposite ideas. He basically supported the free market system. But he believed government also had a right and responsibility to act when needed. And he supported new government controls in such important areas as banking, transportation, agriculture, and oil production.

        JACK WIETZEL: Some Americans did not think it was wise, or even possible, to mix traditional free market capitalism with government intervention or socialism. Former Republican Treasury Secretary Ogden Mills put it this way:

        "We can have a free country or a socialist one. We cannot have both. Our economic system cannot be half free and half socialistic. There is no middle ground between governing and being governed, between absolute rule and freedom."

        Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to a second term in the White House by one of the largest victories in American history
        Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to a second term in the White House by one of the largest victories in American history

        Many leftists and socialists agreed with conservatives that it was impossible to mix capitalism and socialism. One leftist publication wrote:

        "Either the nation must live with the sadness of capitalism or it must prepare to replace capitalism with socialism. There is no longer a practical middle path."

        However, Roosevelt and his New Dealers happily rejected these arguments. They aimed the country between rightist and leftist extremes and created a whole new set of rules for government, the economy, and democracy.

        HARRY MONROE: Most Americans supported Roosevelt and the Democrats as they experimented with new solutions to the problems of the depression. They elected Democrats to a large majority in Congress in nineteen thirty-four. Two years later, they re-elected Franklin Roosevelt to a second term in the White House by one of the largest victories in American history.

        Roosevelt's big victory made him stronger than ever. So he decided to fight the part of the government that had been blocking many of his programs -- the Supreme Court.

        JACK WIETZEL: Most of the nine judges on the Supreme Court in nineteen thirty-six were conservative. They had ruled that many of Roosevelt's most important New Deal programs were illegal. Now the judges were preparing to decide the future of programs to help old people, labor unions, and others. And there was nothing the president could do under the American system of government.

        So Roosevelt called for changes in the system. He asked Congress to reorganize the federal judicial system. And he asked for the power to add several new members to the Supreme Court. In this way, Roosevelt hoped to gain a new majority on the court that would support his views.

        HARRY MONROE: Most Americans liked Roosevelt. But people of all opinions feared that the president was trying to destroy the careful system of checks and balances in the federal government. They agreed with him in opposing the court's decisions. But they accepted the right of Supreme Court judges to rule as they thought correct. For this reason, the nation rejected Roosevelt's plan to add new members to the court.

        JACK WIETZEL: Roosevelt's unsuccessful effort to change the Supreme Court came at the same time as the economy began to get worse.

        Many Americans thought they had defeated the depression in nineteen thirty-five and thirty-six. There was steady economic improvement. Some bankers had even begun to fear that the economy was growing too fast.

        These bankers called on the nation's central bank -- the Federal Reserve Board -- to control the expanding money supply. And the Federal Reserve acted to limit the amount of money in use.

        At the same time, the federal government began reducing the amount of money that it was spending. And it launched the new Social Security tax on workers' incomes.

        The effect of all these government actions was to limit the amount of money being spent by the government, companies, and private citizens. As a result, the economy began to fall once again into depression.

        Most people supported the 'New Deal' policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
        Most people supported the "New Deal" policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

        HARRY MONROE: In August nineteen thirty-seven, stock market prices began to fall sharply.

        In seven months, the price of stock for the General Motors Corporation fell from sixty dollars to twenty-five. The United States Steel Company stock fell all the way from one hundred twenty-one dollars to thirty-eight. In fact, the stock markets lost in nine months about two-thirds of all the gains that they had made so slowly and painfully since Roosevelt took office.

        Americans had supported Roosevelt's New Deal program because it offered a solution to the depression. Now that program seemed to be failing.

        JACK WIETZEL: Historian Frederick Lewis Allen remembered those dark days of nineteen thirty-seven.

        "Goods sold slowly," Allen wrote. "Businessmen became frightened and reduced production. Two million men were thrown out of work in the space of a few months. They became less able to buy what was for sale. The terrible circle of the falling value of the dollar moved all the more rapidly.

        HARRY MONROE: The new economic crisis hurt Roosevelt's popularity. And it came at a time when he faced growing opposition within his own Democratic Party.

        For several years, conservative Democrats from the southeastern part of the country had supported Roosevelt. They liked his leadership and the power that he brought to all Democrats. But they opposed many of his more liberal or experimental social policies.

        JACK WIETZEL: As the economy and Roosevelt's popularity fell, many of these southern Democrats began to openly oppose his leadership. They voted with Republicans on important bills before Congress.

        Roosevelt became very angry about the new opposition from within his own party. He began to intervene personally in Democratic Party primary elections in nineteen thirty-eight. He told party members in several states that they should only vote for candidates who would support his New Deal policies.

        Roosevelt's opponents accused him of interfering in local politics. And democratic voters agreed with these criticisms. In almost all cases, they rejected the candidates supported by the president. A few months later, voters in the general election gave the Republicans major gains in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

        HARRY MONROE: In most situations, such a change in support would have signaled the end of a president's power. If people will not follow, a president cannot lead or be elected.

        But such was not the case for Roosevelt and the United States in the late nineteen thirties. It was true that economic and political troubles were not solved. But another crisis was growing larger every day, making these other problems seem less and less important.

        The crisis was in foreign policy. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party in Germany seemed ready to make war on Europe. And Japanese forces appeared to be planning new aggression in the Pacific. Americans could no longer just worry about their problems at home. A dark cloud was forming outside their door.

        That will be the subject of our next several programs.

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: Our program was written by David Jarmul. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Jack Weitzel.

        You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures 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. I'm Steve Ember.

        ___

        This is program #185

        到了上世紀三十年代中期,美國似乎已經從歷史上最嚴重的經濟大蕭條中走了出來。絕大多數美國人都支持羅斯福新政。胡佛卸任前許多美國人的悲觀看法發生了改變。美國人開始認為,政府正帶著熱情和希望去面對挑戰。

        美國人的思想轉變表現在人們不再熱情參與極左或者極右派的政治活動。很多人認為,最好的方法是通過現有政治體制解決問題。更為重要的是,羅斯福的很多新項目向美國人證明,他們不需要盲目沿襲政治和經濟的傳統理念。

        長期以來,大多數美國人接受的是傳統自由市場資本主義體制經濟觀念。但自從大蕭條開始以來,有些人開始對馬克思的經濟理論產生興趣。羅斯福主張走中間路線。

        他基本上支持自由市場經濟思想,但他認為政府也有權利和責任在需要的時候采取行動,而且他支持政府對一些重要領域,如銀行、交通、農業和石油等行業進行控制。

        然而,有些美國人認為將傳統的自由市場經濟與政府干預或社會主義的經濟體系相結合是不明智的,甚至是不可能的。前財政部長,共和黨人奧格登.米爾斯指出:"我們要么是一個自由的國家,要么是一個社會主義國家,不可能二者都是。我們的經濟體制不可能一半是自由市場經濟,一半是社會主義經濟;在控制與被控制之間,在絕對控制與自由之間沒有中間路線可走。"

        許多左翼分子和社會主義者贊同保守派的觀點,認為資本主義與社會主義不可能結合起來。一份左翼刊物這樣寫道:"任何一個國家,要么生活在悲慘的資本主義體制下,要么用社會主義所替代資本主義,二者間沒有中間路線。"

        然而,羅斯福和他的新政支持者們并不贊成這一思想。他們的目標是在右派與左派的極端思想中間,為政府、經濟和民主創造一套全新規范。大多數美國人支持羅斯福和民主黨人為解決大蕭條而嘗試的新措施。

        在1934年的國會中期選舉中,大量民主黨人被選進國會;兩年后,選民再次選舉富蘭克林.羅斯福為總統,這次選舉結果是美國選舉史上最大的壓倒性勝利之一。

        選舉的巨大勝利使羅斯福變得更加強勢。他決定向美國政府體制中給新政帶來最大阻力的----美國聯邦最高法院提出挑戰。1936年,美國聯邦法院九名大法官中大多數是保守派,他們曾經將羅斯福絕大多數的新政計劃裁決為非法。

        如今,這些大法官正準備決定那些幫助老人、工會等新政計劃的未來。而根據美國當時的政治體制,總統對聯邦最高法院的作為無能為力。所以,羅斯福呼吁改革這種體制,要求國會改組聯邦司法體制,還要求國會授予他權力,為聯邦最高法院增加幾名新的大法官,如此一來,羅斯福就有希望在聯邦法院中有多數法官支持他的觀點了。

        大多數美國人喜歡羅斯福,但很多人擔心,羅斯福增加聯邦最高法院大法官的做法會破壞美國政治體制中相互制衡。他們跟羅斯福一樣,不同意聯邦最高法院的裁決,但他們認為,聯邦最高法院大法官有權按自己的想法做出裁決,因此,選民否決了羅斯福增加聯邦法院大法官的計劃。

        羅斯福試圖改革美國聯邦最高法院的努力失敗了,與此同時,美國經濟開始惡化。許多美國人以為,他們已經在1935年和1936年戰勝了大蕭條,美國經濟已開始穩步發展。

        有些銀行家甚至開始擔心經濟發展過快。在他們的呼吁下,美國中央銀行----美聯儲控制了貨幣發行量。與此同時,聯邦政府開始減少支出,同時開始向有工資收入的人征收社會保險稅。

        聯邦政府的所有這些措施都旨在控制政府、企業和私人的支出。結果,美國經濟再次衰退,又一次進入蕭條狀態。1937年8月,美國股票市場大跌。短短七個月里,美國通用汽車公司的股票就從60美元跌到25美元,美國鋼鐵公司的股票從121美元跌到38美元。

        結果,羅斯福執政以來剛剛緩慢復蘇起來的美國股票市值,在九個月里就又賠進去了三分之二。那些解決大蕭條的羅斯福新政曾經得到了美國人的支持,而現在這些新政措施似乎都開始走向失敗。

        一位歷史學家為我們記錄下了1937年那些黑暗的日子。他這樣寫道:"商品賣不出去,""商人們驚恐不已,減少產量。幾個月內,兩百萬人失去了工作,失去購買力。而美元貶值進一步加速了這一可怕的循環。"

        這次新的經濟危機傷害了羅斯福的民眾支持率,與此同時,他又面臨著民主黨內越來越多的反對浪潮。多年來,東南部的保守派民主黨人一直支持羅斯福,他們喜歡他的領導風格和他給民主黨帶來的力量。但他們反對羅斯福的一些太過自由或太傾向于社會主義的政策。

        美國經濟和羅斯福的聲譽雙雙下降的時候,許多南方民主黨人開始公開批評羅斯福的領導。他們在國會表決一些重要的法案時,與共和黨人站在一起。對此,羅斯福非常生氣。他開始親自干預民主黨1938年的初選,勸說許多州的民主黨人選擇那些支持新政的候選人。

        羅斯福的對手指責他干預地方政治,民主黨選民也認同這一指責。結果,在幾乎所有民主黨初選中,得到總統支持的候選人紛紛落選。幾個月后,在國會參眾兩院選舉中,共和黨人在兩院均獲得了多數席位。

        在絕大多數情況下,總統失去支持,也就意味著總統權力的結束。如果人們不愿意跟著總統走,那么總統就無法領導國家,也無法再次當選。但在上世紀三十年代后期,對于羅斯福和美國,這種情況卻并沒有發生。

        的確,美國的經濟和政治問題尚未解決,但另外一場危機卻愈演愈烈,從而使其他一些問題變得微不足道。此時,希特勒和他的納粹黨似乎已經準備好要在歐洲發動戰爭,而日本的武裝力量正準備在太平洋發動侵略戰爭。美國人不能再僅僅考慮國內的問題了,黑夜已經降臨到他們門前。

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