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本杰明·哈里森:美国历史上十大最平庸总统之一

kira86 于2010-06-03发布 l 已有人浏览
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American History: Harrison’s Presidency Marked by Anger Over Trusts高速下载 FAITH LAPIDUS: Welcome to THE MAK
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American History: Harrison’s Presidency Marked by Anger Over Trusts


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

The eighteen eighties were years of important change in American business and industry.

Twenty years after the Civil War, the Unitedbl States had become one of the leading industrial nations of the world. As the number of factories increased, so did competition between businesses.

Some industrialists cooperated with their competitors to reduce competition. But this did not always succeed. There was no legal way to enforce their agreements.

This week in our series, Leo Scully and Jack Weitzel tell how these issues were handled during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison.

LEO SCULLY: In eighteen seventy-nine, a new form of business organization was developed -- the trust. In a trust, stock owners of many competing companies give control of their stock to a committee, or group, of trustees.

The trustees operate all the companies as one and pay profits to the stockholders. The profits would be high, because there would be no competition to drive down prices.

One of the first trusts was formed by John D. Rockefeller in the oil industry. The stockholders of seventy-seven oil companies gave control of their stock to nine trustees of Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company. The nine men controlled ninety per cent of the nation's oil production.

JACK WEITZEL: The success of the Standard Oil Company led to the creation of trusts in other industries. Soon there was a sugar trust, a salt trust, a steel trust, even a whisky trust.

These huge corporations represented hundreds of millions of dollars. This great wealth made them very powerful.

Former President [Grover] Cleveland, himself a friend of business, warned of a growing danger. "Corporations," he said, "should be carefully-controlled creatures of the law and servants of the people. Instead, they are fast becoming the people's masters."

LEO SCULLY: The public began to demand government controls of the trusts. Farmers claimed that prices were too high, and they blamed the trusts. Workers said their unions could not negotiate with the new industrial giants. Small businessmen charged that trusts were too powerful. They said the trusts could destroy them.

Public demands for action led the governments of fifteen states to pass anti-trust laws. But the state laws could do nothing. Most of the trusts were nationwide corporations which did business in many states.

Public protest was so great that both parties in the eighteen eighty-eight elections promised to pass a federal law against trusts.

JACK WEITZEL: A number of such bills were proposed. One offered by Senator John Sherman, a Republican, was approved by Congress. President Benjamin Harrison signed it into law in eighteen ninety.

The Sherman Anti-trust Law sounded severe. It said it was illegal for a trust or any other organization to interfere with interstate commerce -- trade among the states. It was also illegal for any person or organization to form a monopoly -- to get control of a whole industry. The law ordered harsh punishment for any person found guilty of these crimes.

It sounded like a strong law. But it was not. It was written in a very general way that left the courts to decide what the law really said. Opponents of the Sherman Anti-Trust Bill said its purpose was not to destroy trusts, but to make the public believe that trusts would be destroyed.

LEO SCULLY: During President Harrison's administration, only eight corporations were accused of violating the new anti-trust law. Of the eight, only one was found guilty, and only in a very limited way.

The first company charged was the Whisky Trust. A court dismissed the case. It said the government failed to prove that the trust had interfered with interstate commerce.

A few years later, the government asked the courts to break up the huge sugar trust which controlled ninety-eight percent of the sugar-producing industry.

The Supreme Court refused to do so. It said that it was true the trust had formed a monopoly in the sugar-producing industry. But it said the monopoly was in manufacturing -- not in trade or interstate commerce. Therefore, said the high court, the sugar trust was legal and did not violate the anti-trust law.

JACK WEITZEL: Industrial trusts helped to reduce competition among American companies. High tariffs also gave some protection from competition with foreign companies. But business leaders were not satisfied. They demanded even higher taxes on imports to further reduce competition.

So, Republican Congressman William McKinley of Ohio proposed a new tariff bill -- one that would raise import taxes higher than ever before. The tax already was about thirty-eight percent on most imported products. The new measure would raise it to almost fifty percent.

LEO SCULLY: Not everyone in the Harrison administration supported the high tariff measure. Secretary of State [James] Blaine wanted to increase trade between the United States and other countries. He warned that new, high tariffs would destroy those plans.

A cartoon from Puck magazine makes fun of President Harrison, left, for his support of a tariff on tin. Secretary of State James Blaine is at right.
Puck
A cartoon from Puck magazine makes fun of President Harrison, left, for his support of a tariff on tin. Secretary of State James Blaine is at right.

Blaine also opposed the bill because he felt it would hurt the Republican Party politically. In a letter to Congressman McKinley, Blaine said the bill would anger the farmers by adding as much as eight percent to the price of shoes for their children.

"Such movements as this for protection," said Blaine, "will move the Republican Party only into speedy defeat."

JACK WEITZEL: Most western and southern congressmen opposed the tariff bill, because it would mean higher prices to the people of their states. But the bill could not pass without the support of some of them. So, supporters of the tariff bill offered a deal.

If westerners voted for the tariff measure, then eastern lawmakers would support a silver purchase bill that the westerners wanted.

The bill, known as the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, would have the government buy four-and-one-half-million ounces of silver each month. The government would pay for the silver with paper money -- treasury notes -- which could be exchanged for gold or silver money.

LEO SCULLY: Western mines were producing huge amounts of silver. By selling it to the government, the mining interests hoped to keep the price of silver from falling. Western interests spoke in Congress now with a much stronger voice. In eighteen eighty-nine and eighteen ninety, six western territories became states. This added twelve more western representatives in the Senate and others in the House.

The deal was agreed to. Both the McKinley Tariff Bill and the Sherman Silver Purchase Bill were approved by Congress and signed by President Harrison. As expected, the price of imported goods rose. And the people blamed the Republicans.

JACK WEITZEL: In the congressional elections of eighteen ninety, the Republican Party suffered heavy losses.

The Republican majority in the Senate was cut to eight. And not all the Republican senators would support the party on every issue. The Republicans lost control in the House of Representatives. Only eighty-eight were elected to House seats. Democrats elected two hundred thirty-five Representatives.

Voters also elected nine House members and two Senators from a new political organization -- the People's Party. The new party was born in farming areas of the West and South. It was a party of protest, formed by men who refused to support either of the two old parties.

LEO SCULLY: Years before, farmers had united in agricultural organizations they called granges. A national grange had been formed.

During hard times, the grange organized political action groups to help elect officials who were friendly to farmers. But as farm conditions improved, the Granges began to disappear.

A few years later, farmers began to build new organizations. Like the granges, they began as social and economic groups.

By the late eighteen eighties, many of these groups had united into two large organizations. One, with more than one million members, was the Southern Alliance. The other, with fewer members, was the National Farmers' Alliance. Members of the two groups began to unite for political action.

That will be our story on the next program of THE MAKING OF A NATION.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Leo Scully and Jack Weitzel. 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.

本杰明·哈里森于1 8 8 9 年就任总统时正值纪念华盛顿总统就职一百周年,因而人们称他为“一百周年纪念”总统。
  他出身名门,父亲是国会议员;祖父威廉·亨利·哈里森是美国第9任总统;曾祖父也叫本杰明·哈里森,为美国开国元老之一,曾任大陆会议代表,在著名的《独立宣言》上签过字。
  哈里森本人做过律师和参议员,也是美国南北战争时期的一位名将。他是美国总统中首屈一指的演说家。任期内采取过一些重要的立法措施,但是,许多美国人认为他是一个相对于美国历史上伟大的总统来说是一位平庸的总统 。
  哈里森是约翰·斯科特·哈里森与伊丽莎白·拉姆西的第六个孩子,连他父亲与第一个妻子的三个孩子,哈里森共有兄妹九人。哈里森生于俄亥俄州。他受到良好的教育,毕业于迈阿密大学,毕业后操律师业。南北战争期间参加联邦军,获将军衔。1881年,他成为参议员。1888年,他被共和党提名总统候选人并在竞选中获胜。上台时,美国工业化臻于完成,经济结构发生了历史性变革。哈里森顺应潮流,制定了旨在稳定局势、防止社会动荡的《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》。对外,哈里森积极扩大美国影响,组织召开了第一届泛美会议,成立泛美联盟。哈里森政府还与许多国家签订了贸易互惠协定。
  任期期满之后,他谋求连任失败,返回印第安那州重操律师业并开始写作。并且在1896年与寡居的玛莉·迪米克太太结婚。作为一位受尊敬的年长的政治家,哈里森于1901年逝世。

-------------------------------------------------------

美国历史上十大平庸总统

英国《泰晤士报》组织了8位英国顶尖国际和政治评论员组成的一个专家委员会对43位美国总统分别以不同的标准进行了排名,29日已经公布了排名最后 的10位最差总统(42-33),30日《泰晤士报》公布了十大平庸总统的排名。

  第一:吉米·卡特(1977年至1981年任第39任总统,民主党人)

  卡特执政时期,曾出现过一系列外交失误,包括放弃巴拿马运河主权、对伊朗人质危机以及前苏联入侵阿富汗妥协等。在华盛顿,卡特对公务员制度进行了改革,调整了卫生部和教育部,但这些举措并没有为他提升人气。在应对低迷经济失败后,他很快被抛弃。《洛杉矶时报》记者克里斯·亚尔斯评价说:“卡特做的每件事几乎都是错的。”

  第二:约翰·泰勒(1841年至1845年任第十任总统,辉格党人)

  美国第九任总统威廉·亨利·哈里森就职仅31天就突然去世,根据美国宪法规定,时任副总统的泰勒自动接任,成为美国第十任总统。泰勒改革美国海 军,建立美国气象局,结束佛罗里达的第二次塞米诺尔战争,平息罗德岛多次叛乱,将得克萨斯州和佛罗里达州纳入美国。

  泰勒原是民主党人,由于反对第七任总统杰克逊,转投了辉格党。但他出身于南部种植园奴隶主家庭,主张维护奴隶制,反对辉格党的许多政策主张,因而被开除出党。美国内战初期,他支持南方的行动,被选为“南部同盟”的国会议员,北方各州对他十分憎恨。他去世时,联邦政府毫无悼念的表示。

  第三:威廉·H·塔夫脱(1908年至1913年任第27任总统,共和党人)

  塔夫脱之所以排名靠后,很大原因是他的总统生涯完全被他的前任西奥多·罗斯福的光辉所掩盖。塔夫脱执政后,在公众压力下,声称开展“反托拉斯 战”。但他主要代表洛克菲勒财团的利益,借此打击摩根财团;不久就采取了对垄断企业大开方便之门的“自由放任”政策。

  塔夫脱政府于1909年通过《佩恩—奥尔德里奇法案》,设置了美国建国以来的最高关税率,引起强烈反对。1913年塔夫脱谋求连任失败,仅获得 8张选票。塔夫脱体重超过150公斤,健康问题很多,包括嗜睡,就连跟世界其他国家领导人会见的时候也是瞌睡一个接一个。

  并列第三:本杰明·哈里森(与塔夫脱并列)(1889年到1893年任第23任总统,共和党人)

  哈里森之所以被列入不受欢迎之列,因为他对美国进口产品实行高关税政策。当时美国经济正处于低迷时期,但他却抬高物价。可是同时,哈里森也会顺应潮流,签署许多法令,比如制定了旨在稳定局势、防止社会动荡的《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》。但是,许多美国人认为他是一个平庸的总统。

  哈里森任总统期间,美国对外影响日益增加,他组织召开了第一届泛美会议,成立泛美联盟。当时美国国会批准了第一次对外战争,经费达10亿美元。 不过哈里森在贫困选民中不受欢迎。

  第四:扎卡里·泰勒(1849到1850年任第12任总统,辉格党人)

  泰勒是除威廉·哈里森外,另外一位在任内去世的总统。泰勒是军人出身,就任前从没有在办公室工作的经历,上任后仅16个月就病逝了。

  泰勒是南方奴隶主出身,但却反对把美国从墨西哥夺到的土地(即加利福尼亚和新墨西哥)开辟为蓄奴州,并与企图脱离联邦的势力作斗争。他还主张给 刚刚从墨西哥得到的领土授予州的地位,但遭到国会的强烈反对。
第五:拉瑟福德·伯乍得·海斯(1877年到1881年任第19任总统,共和党人)

  海斯的当选是美国总统大选中最有争议的一次选举。他在普选中失败,但在经过几个月的争论之后,以一张选票的优势赢得总统宝座。海斯一上任,突然 决定从南方州撤军,允许前南部联盟各州自治,从而结束了美国民主重建的进程。

  第六:卡尔文·柯立芝(1923年到1929年任第30任总统,共和党人)

  美国第29任总统沃伦·哈定去世后,身为副总统的柯立芝自动继任为第30任总统。柯立芝是最后一个没有试图干预自由市场的美国总统,他的“自由 放任”经济政策促使当时的美国经济疯狂增长,不仅降低了税率,还减少了国债。

  柯立芝在总统任期内对政府进行了一些整顿,革除了一些引起民愤的贪污渎职的官员,同时削减所得税税率,鼓励投资。但他信奉“无为而治”的政治哲 学,认为“少管闲事的政府是最好的政府”,所以在他五年半的总统任期内,没有突出的政绩。

  第七:杰拉德·福特(1974年到1977年任第38任总统,共和党人)

  美国第37任总统尼克松因为“水门事件”被迫辞职后,根据美国宪法规定,福特直接就任美国第38任总统,成为美国历史上第一位没有经过选举而被直接任命的总统。福特任期内做出的最有争议的一个决定就是动用总统特权,无条件赦免尼克松的所有罪行,使尼克松免于成为有史以来第一个进监狱的美国总统。

  在福特任职期间,美国正经历经济衰退,通货膨胀率高达7%,财政预算赤字也非常严重。在他就职的前14个月中,福特否决了国会通过的39项政府 年初预算案,以扭转经济局势。但他的其他表现,反应平平。

  第八:安德鲁·约翰逊(1865年到1869年任第17任总统,国家联盟)

  1864年大选时,约翰逊当选为副总统。林肯总统遇刺身亡后,约翰逊继任总统。约翰逊反对南方脱离联邦,是南北战争时期参议院里受到北方欢迎和 林肯总统信任的唯一的南方人。

  但内战后,约翰逊拒绝严惩失败的南方联盟各州,并实施了一系列重建南方的措施,遭到控制国会的共和党激进派的强烈反对。在约翰逊任期内,他花费 很多时间和精力应付反对派对他发起的弹劾。虽然弹劾最终失败,但也使约翰逊名声扫地。

  第九:比尔·克林顿(1993年到2001年任美国第42、43任总统,民主党人)

  克林顿是这次美国总统评级排名中最有争议的人物之一,一些评判员对他评价很高,而另外一些人则将他列入最糟糕总统的行列。

  克林顿成功地通过立法改革,包括增加最低工资等,但他的很多医疗改革的提议却未能全部实施。他的第二任期一直受到莱温斯基丑闻和弹劾的困扰,但 他依然以65%的支持率继续留任白宫。

  第十、切斯特·艾伦·阿瑟(1881年到1885年任第21任总统,共和党人)

  阿瑟是美国历届总统中资历最浅的一个。共和党内派系斗争让他出乎意外地获得副总统提名,当副总统不到四个月,又因总统詹姆斯·加菲尔德遇刺身 亡,很快地登上了总统宝座。

  阿瑟试图消除党派之争,希望通过引入独立的公务员委员会、限制公务员的政治影响以及降低关税等政策来改善华盛顿的形象。但他采取的“超党派”态 度激怒了共和党,致使共和党拒绝提名他参加第二任总统大选。

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