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        #66: US Gets a New President in 1837, and a Depression

        作者:Frank Beardsley 發布日期:4-18-2013

        Welcome to the MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English.

        Martin Van Buren was sworn-in as the eighth president of the United States in eighteen thirty-seven. Not long after he took office, the United States suffered an economic depression.

        1836年,馬丁.范布倫當選為美國第八位總統。他宣誓就職后不久,美國就陷入了一場嚴峻的經濟衰退。

        Martin Van Buren
        Martin Van Buren

        Many state banks had printed more money than they could guarantee with gold or silver. As more paper money came into use, the value fell. Prices rose sharply. Some people could not buy food or other necessities. In a short time, the demand on banks to exchange paper money for gold and silver grew too heavy.

        各州銀行大量發行紙幣,價值遠遠超過了銀行手中掌握的金幣和銀幣。隨著紙幣流量的增加,紙幣不斷貶值,商品物價飛漲,有些窮人甚至買不起食物和日常生活用品。沒過多久,銀行持有的金幣和銀幣就不足以應付兌換紙幣的要求了。

        The banks halted such exchanges. They said the situation was only temporary. But the crisis continued.

        在這種情況下,銀行宣布,停止將紙幣兌換成金幣或銀幣,并表示,這只是暫時的,是迫不得已而為之。此后,經濟危機繼續惡化。

        This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Tony Riggs talk about the economic situation. And they discuss foreign affairs during the Van Buren presidency.

        VOICE TWO:

        Many of the weaker state banks closed after gold and silver payments were suspended. Those that stayed open had almost no money to lend. Businessmen could not pay back money they owed the banks. And they could not get loans to keep their businesses open. Many factories closed. Great numbers of people were out of work.

        金幣和銀幣的兌換暫停后,很多實力虛弱的州銀行紛紛倒閉,勉強維持的銀行也沒錢放貸,商家無力償還銀行貸款,同時也得不到新的貸款,很多工廠被迫關門,大批勞工失去工作。

        The federal government itself lost nine million dollars because of bank failures. Businessmen said the government was to blame for the economic depression. They said the biggest reason was an order made by former president Andrew Jackson. Jackson had said the government would not accept paper money as payment for the purchase of government land. It would accept only gold or silver.

        聯邦政府本身也因為銀行倒閉損失了九百萬美元。商界認為,政府是經濟衰退的始作俑者。他們指出,最主要的原因就是前總統杰克遜下的一道政令,要求購買政府土地,一律使用金幣或銀幣,不能使用紙幣。

        Opponents of the order said it had caused fear and mistrust. Even some of Jackson's strongest supporters said the order should be lifted. They said it had done its job of ending land speculation. Now, they said, it was hurting the economy.

        這項政令的反對者說,政令引起了猜疑,就連杰克遜的一些支持者都認為,這項政令應該取消。他們認為,這道政令已經有效制止了土地投機的浪潮,完成了自己的歷史使命,如果再繼續下去的話,只會對經濟造成傷害。

        VOICE ONE:

        Two of President Van Buren's closest advisers urged him to continue the order. Lifting it, they argued, would flood the federal government with paper money of questionable value.

        然而,總統范布倫身邊的兩位顧問堅持建議他把這道政令繼續下去。他們認為,政令一旦解除,聯邦政府馬上就會被一文不值的紙幣所淹沒。

        A cartoon drawing from 1837 making fun of Martin Van Buren's financial policies
        A cartoon drawing from 1837 making fun of Martin Van Buren's financial policies

        Van Buren was troubled about the government's money. He wanted to make sure the government had enough money. And he wanted this money safe until needed.

        政府財政讓范布倫很傷腦筋。他一方面希望確保政府擁有足夠資金,保證資金安全;

        At the same time, Van Buren did not believe the federal government had the responsibility for ending the depression. And he did not believe the government had the right to interfere in any way with private business. So Van Buren decided to continue the order. No government land could be bought with paper money.

        另一方面,范布倫認為,聯邦政府沒有結束經濟衰退的義務,政府無權插手私人經濟。因此,范布倫決定繼續執行杰克遜的政令,禁止使用紙幣購買政府土地。

        The economy got worse. The president called a special meeting of Congress. In his message to Congress, Van Buren said "over-banking and over-trading" had caused the depression. He proposed several steps to protect the government.

        美國經濟進一步惡化??偨y范布倫召集國會特別會議。范布倫告訴國會說,“銀行界的過量活動和商界的過度交易”是經濟衰退的罪魁禍首,他還提出了一系列保護政府的行動步驟。

        (MUSIC)

        VOICE TWO:

        Van Buren asked Congress to postpone payment of surplus federal government money to the states. He said the money would be needed to operate the federal government in the coming year. He also asked Congress to pass a law permitting the government to keep its own money in the Treasury, instead of putting it in private banks. This was the so-called "independent Treasury" bill.

        范布倫要求國會推遲將聯邦政府的結余資金交給各州。他說,聯邦政府在接下來一年里的運作需要這筆資金。他還要求國會通過一項立法,允許政府把聯邦資金留給財政部管理,不交給私有銀行。這就是所謂的“獨立財政”法案。

        The opposition Whig Party denounced the president's proposals. It criticized Van Buren for thinking only of protecting the federal government -- and not helping businessmen, farmers and the states.

        反對黨輝格黨對范布倫的提議表示反對,批評范布倫只想著保護聯邦政府,置商人、農民和各州的利益于不顧。

        Whig opposition was not strong enough to defeat all the president's proposals. Congress approved a bill to postpone payment of surplus federal government money to the states. But the Whigs -- together with conservative Democrats -- rejected the proposal for an independent Treasury.

        然而,輝格黨勢單力薄,沒能阻擋范布倫的所有提案。國會最后通過立法,推遲將聯邦政府的結余資金交給各州,但是與此同時,“獨立財政”的法案卻在輝格黨和保守派民主黨人的聯合阻擾下,無疾而終。

        VOICE ONE:

        America's Treasury Department received money when it collected import taxes and sold land. It used this money to pay what the government owed. The Treasury did not, however, hold the money from the time it was collected to the time it was paid out.

        The Treasury put the money in private banks. President Van Buren wanted to end this situation. He wanted a law to permit the Treasury to keep government money in its own secure places.

        The Whigs argued that such a law would give presidents too much power over the economy. Some Democrats who believed strongly in states' rights also opposed it. Between them, they had enough votes in Congress to defeat the proposal.

        VOICE TWO:

        President Van Buren tried again the following year to get approval for an independent Treasury. Again, the proposal was defeated.

        次年,范布倫再次提出“獨立財政”議案,結果再次受挫。

        Finally, in June, eighteen-forty, Congress passed a law permitting the Treasury Department to hold government money itself. Van Buren signed the bill. The economic depression of eighteen thirty-seven lasted for six years. It was the major problem -- but not the only problem -- during Van Buren's one term as president.

        直到1840年6月,國會才通過立法,允許財政部保留政府資金。范布倫簽字生效。美國1837年開始的經濟衰退持續了六年,是范布倫第一個任期內遇到的主要問題,但并非唯一問題。

        (MUSIC)

        VOICE ONE:

        In foreign affairs, one of the chief problems Van Buren faced was a dispute with Britain about Canada. Canadian rebels had tried two times to end British rule of Canada. They failed both times. Rebel leaders were forced to flee to safety in the United States. There they found it easy to get men and supplies to help them continue their struggle.

        在外交領域內,加拿大跟英國發生了矛盾。加拿大的反叛勢力兩度企圖擺脫英國統治,結果都以失敗告終。反叛頭領被迫逃亡美國,尋求安全。他們發現,在美國可以輕而易舉地得到人力和物力,繼續他們的獨立斗爭。

        A drawing of the American ship Caroline, seized by Canadian soldiers. They set fire to it and pushed it over Niagara Falls.
        A drawing of the American ship Caroline, seized by Canadian soldiers. They set fire to it and pushed it over Niagara Falls.

        The rebels built a base on a Canadian island in the Niagara River which formed part of the border between the two countries. They used an American boat to carry supplies from the American side to their base. In December eighteen thirty-seven, Canadian soldiers crossed the Niagara River and seized the boat. One American was killed in the fight.

        他們在美加邊境尼亞加拉河一個加拿大島嶼上建立了根據地,用美國船只把供給從美國運來。1837年12月,加拿大部隊穿過尼亞加拉河,扣押了運輸供給的美國船只,還打死了一個美國人。

        VOICE TWO:

        For a while, Canadian forces and Canadian rebels exchanged attacks on river boats. A number of American citizens fought with the rebels. President Van Buren was troubled. He declared that the wish to help others become independent was a natural feeling among Americans. But, he said no American had a right to invade a friendly country. He warned that citizens who fought against the Canadian government, and were captured, could expect no help from the United States.

        加拿大部隊和反叛力量經常在船上交火,一些美國人跟反叛力量并肩作戰。范布倫為此十分苦惱。他宣布,幫助他人爭取自由,是美國人民的自然感受,但是他說,美國人無權入侵友好鄰邦。他警告說,任何跟加拿大政府作對的美國公民,一旦被抓住,不要指望美國政府出面幫助。

        VOICE ONE:

        Another problem between the United States and Canada at that time concerned the border along the state of Maine. That part of the border had been in dispute ever since seventeen eighty-three when Britain recognized the independence of the American states.

        美國和加拿大面對的另一個問題是緬因州一帶美加邊境線引起的糾紛。自從1783年英國承認美國獨立以來,那一段邊境就一直存在爭議。

        Years later, the king of the Netherlands agreed to decide the dispute. The king said it was impossible to decide the border from words of the peace treaty between Britain and the United States. So he offered what he believed was a fair settlement instead: The United States would get about two times as much of the disputed area as Canada.

        很多年后,荷蘭國王同意出面,協助斡旋。他說,根據英美兩國簽署的和平協議,無法判斷邊境的劃分,他提出了自己認為最合理的建議,就是將爭議地區分成三份,美國兩份,加拿大一份。

        Britain accepted the proposal by the king of the Netherlands. The United States did not. The United States refused, because the state of Maine would not accept it.

        英國接受了荷蘭國王的解決方案,但是美國拒絕接受,因為緬因州不答應。

        VOICE TWO:

        In eighteen thirty-eight, Britain withdrew its acceptance of the proposal. And Canadians entered the disputed area. The governor of Maine sent state forces to the area. The soldiers drove out the Canadians and built forts. Canada, too, began to prepare for war.

        1837年,英國也收回成命。加拿大人隨即進入爭議地區,緬因州州長派兵把加拿大人趕走,并在那里建筑了堡壘。加拿大也開始積極備戰。

        General Winfield Scott
        General Winfield Scott

        President Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott to Maine. Scott was able to get the governor to withdraw his forces from the disputed area. He also received guarantees that Canadian forces would not enter the area. The danger of war passed.

        總統范布倫派遣溫菲爾德.斯科特將軍趕往緬因。在斯科特將軍的調解下,緬因州部隊撤出了爭議地帶,加拿大人也保證不涉足那片地區,從而避免了一場戰爭。

        VOICE ONE:

        Americans in the border area, however, were angry with President Van Buren. They believed Van Buren was weak, because he did not want war. Not only in the Northeast was the president losing support. People all over the country were suffering because of the economic depression.

        然而,邊境地區的美國人對范布倫非常不滿,認為他過于軟弱,不敢打仗。與此同時,經濟衰退,民怨沸騰。

        Most people believed Van Buren was responsible for their troubles, because he did not end the depression. The economy had fallen apart because of the hard money policies of former President Andrew Jackson, and the opposition to those policies by businessmen and bankers. And Van Buren did nothing to change those policies.

        大多數人都覺得,范布倫要為經濟困境負責。美國經濟之所以一發不可收拾,是因為前總統杰克遜實行的強硬的貨幣政策,以及這些政策引起的商人和銀行家的反對。但是范布倫拒絕改變杰克遜的政策。

        VOICE TWO:

        Van Buren had been a good political adviser to President Jackson. But he had not been a strong president. He was unable to make the people understand his policies. The opposition Whig Party was happy over these developments. It saw an excellent chance to win the next presidential election.

        范布倫是杰克遜手下的優秀幕僚,但并不是一位優秀的總統,他無法讓人民理解自己的政策。當時的反對黨輝格黨對這種事態發展十分滿意,他們看到了在下屆總統大選中獲勝的希望。

        The issues in American politics before the election of eighteen forty will be our story in the next program of THE MAKING OF A NATION.

        (MUSIC)

        ANNOUNCER:

        Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Tony Riggs. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs can be found, along with historical images, at www.squishedblueberries.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - an American history series in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This is program #66 of THE MAKING OF A NATION

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