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本杰明·哈里森击败克利夫兰,当选美国第32任总统

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American History: Benjamin Harrison Defeats Cleveland Over Tariffs in 1888高速下载 FAITH LAPIDUS: Welcome to t
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American History: Benjamin Harrison Defeats Cleveland Over Tariffs in 1888


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

In the presidential election of eighteen eighty-eight, one issue that played a major part was tariffs.

At that time, import taxes were high on many products. The high tariffs protected American goods from competing with lower-priced foreign imports. The tariffs protected millions of jobs in American industry. Not everyone, however, supported high tariffs.

The president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, decided that high tariffs were wrong. He told other Democratic leaders that he would try to get the tariffs reduced.

The politicians warned him not to try. They said he would only lose the support of business people. They said he would need campaign money from business if he expected to be elected president again. But Cleveland rejected their advice.

This week in our series, Shirley Griffith and Ray Freeman tell about the presidential election of eighteen eighty-eight.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: President Cleveland believed that high tariffs hurt more Americans than they protected. High tariffs, he said, led to high prices on all products. He also opposed high tariffs because they brought in more money than the government needed. The extra money was kept in the public treasury. And this, Cleveland believed, slowed the American economy.

The president's Democratic Party united to support his policy of lowering tariffs. When the party held its presidential nominating convention in eighteen eighty-eight, delegates quickly re-nominated Cleveland.

RAY FREEMAN: At the Republican Party convention, delegates were expected to nominate Senator James Blaine. Blaine had been the party's candidate four years earlier. He had lost to Cleveland in a very close election.

Senator Blaine publicly criticized the president's policy on tariffs. He said he looked forward to a full debate on the issue. Republicans thought this meant that Blaine wanted to be nominated for president again. They told him he was sure to win. They said it would be such an easy victory that he would not have to campaign.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: In fact, Blaine did not want the nomination. He asked that his name not be put before the convention. He met with reporters to talk about his decision. He said: "A man who has once been the candidate of his party -- and defeated -- owes it to his party not to be a candidate again."

Many Republicans refused to accept Blaine's decision. They felt that if Blaine were nominated, he would run. Blaine replied: "If the presidential nomination is offered to me, I could not and would not accept it."

That was final. Blaine's supporters had to find someone else to nominate for president.

(MUSIC)

RAY FREEMAN: Fourteen men declared themselves to be candidates for the Republican nomination. A leading candidate was Senator John Sherman of Ohio. Another was former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana.

Convention delegates voted several times. No man received enough votes to win the nomination. Then a message came from James Blaine. It said: "Nominate Harrison." On the eighth vote, the delegates did.

Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. Benjamin was a lawyer. He had been a General in the Union Army during America's Civil War of the eighteen sixties.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: After nominating Harrison, the Republicans approved a strong policy statement on the tariff question. The statement said:

"We fully support the American system of protection. President Cleveland and his party serve the interests of Europe. We would support the interests of America. We would see all other taxes ended before we surrender any part of the protective tariff system."

RAY FREEMAN: Benjamin Harrison's campaign was well-organized.

His campaign workers went to businessmen who had become rich because of high protective tariffs. They asked for support, and the businessmen gave millions of dollars to the campaign. The businessmen also put pressure on the people who worked for them. They warned workers that if Cleveland were re-elected, there might be no more jobs.

Republican Party leaders took an active part in the campaign of eighteen eighty-eight. They made speeches and led parades across the country. The party also printed millions of pamphlets that warned against what it called "Cleveland's free trade policies."

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Grover Cleveland's campaign was not well-organized. It started slowly. It did not raise much money. No effort was made to answer Republican attacks on the tariff issue. And the president himself refused to campaign. He said he had more important things to do.

The Democrats also failed to stop the Republicans from buying votes on election day. In Indiana, for example, men were paid fifteen dollars to vote for the Republican candidate. The Democrats bought votes, too. But they had less money to spend than the Republicans.

When the popular votes were counted, Cleveland had about one hundred thousand more than Harrison. But Harrison had more electoral votes. He won the election.

RAY FREEMAN: Grover Cleveland had mixed feelings about his defeat. He wanted to win, because he believed his policies were best for the country. He said he was not sorry that he had made tariffs the major issue in the campaign. "I do not regret it," he said. "It is better to be defeated battling for an honest idea, than to win by a cowardly trick."

When President Cleveland and his wife left the White House, Missus Cleveland said goodbye to the servants. She told one of them: "I want you to take good care of all the furniture and other things in the house. I want to find everything the same when we come back...four years from now."

(MUSIC)

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: The new president, Benjamin Harrison, had big political debts to re-pay. He understood this when he began organizing his administration. "When I came to power," Harrison said, "I found that my party's leaders had taken all the power for themselves. I could not name my own cabinet. They had sold every cabinet position to pay for the election."

RAY FREEMAN: The position of Secretary of State went to James Blaine, who had refused his party's requests to run for president. Blaine had served as Secretary of State under Presidents James Garfield and Chester Arthur.

The position of Postmaster General went to John Wanamaker. Wanamaker had raised most of the money for Harrison's campaign. He had given fifty thousand dollars of his own money. He planned to re-pay party supporters with jobs in the post office department.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: During the campaign, Harrison had promised to enforce the civil service law that protected the job rights of government workers. He promised that workers would be removed only in the interests of better government.

Wanamaker and other party leaders criticized Harrison. They said they could not build a strong party organization without promising government jobs to voters.

So, President Harrison suspended the civil service laws that protected postal workers. Within a year, thirty thousand Democrats were removed from the department. Their jobs went to Republicans. The president then announced that the post office would, once again, be protected by the civil service laws.

RAY FREEMAN: Former President Cleveland had been troubled by the extra money in the federal treasury. This was tax money the government collected, but did not use. Most of the extra money came from high protective tariffs on imported products. Cleveland wanted to reduce the surplus by reducing the tariffs.

President Harrison decided to reduce the surplus, too. But he would do it by increasing government spending, not by cutting taxes. Congress agreed. It became the first Congress to spend one thousand million dollars.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:

Much of the money was spent on payments to men who had fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. These payments cost the government more than one hundred million dollars a year.

Congress also approved millions of dollars for government projects in the home states of important congressmen. This was called "pork barrel" spending. It paid for new roads, bridges, and government buildings -- for almost anything the congressmen wanted.

Congress reduced the surplus even more by approving money to build coastal defenses and to buy warships for the Navy.

RAY FREEMAN: The American Congress passed several historic pieces of legislation during Benjamin Harrison's administration: The Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act. And the McKinley Tariff.

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Shirley Griffith and Ray Freeman. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at en8848.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.

相关知识:

得票最多,当不上总统

    1888年的美国大选是一场颇有意思的大选。主要的两位候选人是共和党的哈里森和民主党的克利夫兰。
    克利夫兰当时正担任着美国第22任总统,在民主党内,他的声望也如日中天,没经过什么斗争就被提名为民主党的候选人。是公认的好人。
    哈里森也挺有意思,他爷爷曾经当过美国总统,所以,他竞选的口号竟然是“爷爷英雄孙好汉”,玩起了血统论。幸运的是,那时候的美国人对血统还有那么点信仰,要到今天,肯定会挨无数的板砖。
    不过,哈里森的性格是个问题:不少人认为他是个冷血动物,说与他握手“就像握着一根枯藤一般”。甚至有人戏谑哈里森说,“如果刺破他的皮肤,肯定不会流血,而只会流冰水”。但总体来说,也是个好人,有人说他“诚实得可怕”,竞选团队把未来的官职卖光了他都没觉察到,以致他当上总统了都无法任命官员。
    据说,这是一场真正的“君子之战”。两个候选人很少大张旗鼓地自我吹嘘,也没有挖空心思抹黑对方,克利夫兰只在接受提名时露过一次面,哈里森也只在印第安纳州的老家指挥竞选。
    尽管过程很“和谐”,竞选结果却不那么和谐:哈里森得到选民的投票543.9万张,占48%;而克利夫兰得到了554万张票,占49%。按理说,克利夫兰应该连任,但最后当上总统的,却是哈里森。
    原因在于选举人票。
    美国总统基本上不是民众来选,而是选举人来选。某种程度上,美国总统的选举是间接选举。除两个州外(缅因和阿拉斯加两州按照民众票数比例分配选举人票),每个州都会选出与该州众议员数目相同的选举人。如果哪个候选人赢得了这个州的多数选票,所有选举人就会把票投给他,也就是“赢家通吃”。比如,现在加州有 55张选举人票,如果在公民大选中,一位候选人的票数比另外一个仅仅多上几千票,这55张选举人票也全部都属他。
    所以,克利夫兰在一些州远远领先哈里森,但在更多的州以微弱少数输给哈里森,尽管总票数领先,但选举人票没有哈里森多,最终败北。

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