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克利夫兰重新上台,恰遇美国金融大恐慌和劳工问题

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American History: Cleveland Returns to Office Facing Farm, Labor Unrest高速下载 BOB DOUGHTY: Welcome to the MA
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American History: Cleveland Returns to Office Facing Farm, Labor Unrest


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

Eighteen ninety-two was a presidential election year in the United States. In that year, most parts of the American economy were expanding. But one part was not doing well: agriculture. The result was the birth of a new political party. It was called the People's Party. Its members were called Populists.

This week in our series, Stan Busby and Maurice Joyce tell about the Populists, and how they campaigned against the Republicans and Democrats in the election.

STAN BUSBY: In the late eighteen eighties, a North Carolina farming publication described America's economy this way:

"There is something radically wrong in our industrial system. The railroads are making much money. Yet agriculture is failing. The banks are doing great business. Yet agriculture is failing. Towns and cities grow. Yet agriculture is failing. Wages were never so high. Yet agriculture is failing."

Historians give four major reasons why agriculture was failing in the late eighteen eighties. One was the high cost of transportation. Second was high taxes. Third was falling prices for agricultural products. And fourth was the high cost of borrowing money.

MAURICE JOYCE: Farmers began to organize to discuss their problems. They formed local groups called "Alliances." An Alliance member described the result of these discussions:

"People began to think, who had never thought before. People talked, who had never spoken much. Little by little, they began to study their condition. They discussed taxes on income. Government ownership of property. The unity of labor. And a thousand other opposing ideas."

STAN BUSBY: Local Alliances formed larger groups. The larger groups included many persons who were not farmers, but who lived and worked in agricultural areas. These included teachers, doctors, repairmen, reporters, and church leaders.

In eighteen eighty-nine, the major Alliances held separate conventions in Saint Louis, Missouri. They refused to form one big Alliance. They were divided on several important issues.

MAURICE JOYCE: The chief issue was political. Leaders of the Northern Alliance had decided that agricultural interests could expect little help from either the Republican or Democratic parties. They believed the answer to their problems was a third national political party.

Leaders of the Southern Alliance disagreed. They belonged to the Democratic Party. And, at that time, Democrats faced little opposition in the south. A new party would weaken their political power. So they wanted to work for change within the existing Democratic Party.

STAN BUSBY: Another issue dividing the Northern and Southern Alliances was racial. How would a united Alliance deal with black farmers. The Southern Alliance did not permit black members. And it did not want blacks in a united Alliance. The Northern Alliance said blacks could join.

The two groups could not settle their differences before the state and congressional elections of eighteen ninety. So, they did not campaign as one party. But they campaigned for one idea: help for America's farmers.

Throughout the south and middle-west, they succeeded in electing agricultural candidates as governors, state legislators, Senators, and members of the House of Representatives.

MAURICE JOYCE: Farm leaders everywhere were surprised by their election victories in eighteen ninety. They had not expected to win so much, so quickly. Leaders of the Northern Alliance decided the time was right to form one party to represent all farmers. They felt sure of success. For now, enough leaders of the Southern Alliance were willing to support the idea.

These southern leaders had succeeded within the Democratic Party. But they quickly learned that they held political power only at the local level. They held almost no power at the national level.

So, a few months before the presidential election of eighteen ninety-two, America's agricultural Alliances held a joint convention in Omaha, Nebraska. They formed a new party. They called it the People's Party. They called themselves Populists.

STAN BUSBY: Delegates to the convention approved a policy statement for the new party. The statement said the national government should own the country's railroads, telegraph, and telephone systems. It said the government -- not banks -- should supply paper money. And it said no limits should be put on government production of silver money.

The Populists called for a tax on earnings. Fewer working hours for labor. Controls on immigration.

To help farmers, the Populists demanded what they called the "Sub-Treasury Plan." Under this plan, farmers could put their crops in government storehouses. Then they could wait to sell the crops until prices rose. While they waited, they could borrow money from the government at low cost. They would pay back the loans when they sold their crops.

MAURICE JOYCE: The new People's Party also proposed ways to make government more democratic. It said secret ballots should be used in all elections. It said Senators should be elected by the people...not chosen by state legislatures.

Most Americans considered Populist proposals extreme. They felt the proposals were too close to socialism or communism. The Populists considered their proposals just. They felt their movement was a struggle for more equal control of the nation.

On one side of the struggle were producers. These included farmers, laborers, and small businessmen. They were led by the new People's Party. On the other side were what Populists called non-producers. These included wealthy bankers and leaders of industry. They were led by the Republican and Democratic parties.

Populists wanted producers to have some of the political power traditionally held by non-producers. They wanted producers to get a fairer share of the nation's increasing wealth.

STAN BUSBY: The People's Party chose James Weaver as its candidate in the presidential election of eighteen ninety-two. Weaver had been an officer in the Union Army during America's Civil War. He had served in the House of Representatives. And he had been the candidate of a minor party in the presidential election of eighteen eighty.

The Republican Party re-nominated President Benjamin Harrison. And the Democratic Party nominated former President Grover Cleveland.

MAURICE JOYCE: The campaign began quietly. But a few months before the election, a labor dispute exploded into an important campaign issue. Several thousand steelworkers went on strike at a factory owned by the Carnegie Steel Company in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The steelworkers union called the strike after failing to reach a wage agreement with company officials.

After months of growing tension, the head of the company sent three hundred private security officers to break up the strike and protect non-union workers. The security officers and many of the strikers carried guns. Shots were fired. Ten men were killed.

The governor of Pennsylvania immediately sent state soldiers to the steel factory. After a few more attempts to continue the strike, the union admitted defeat. Its power was crushed. It would be more than forty years before America's steelworkers were organized again.

STAN BUSBY: A short time later, state soldiers were used to break up a strike by railroad workers in New York. And federal soldiers were used against striking silver miners in Idaho.

This use of government troops to end strikes caused many citizens to vote against the ruling Republican Party. They voted for the opposition Democratic or People's Parties, instead.

In the election of eighteen ninety-two, Republican President Benjamin Harrison was defeated. Democrat Grover Cleveland -- who had lost to Harrison four years earlier -- would be president again. The People's Party candidate, James Weaver, won one million popular votes and twenty-two electoral votes.

MAURICE JOYCE: Grover Cleveland returned to the White House, just as his wife had said he would. But his second administration would be much more difficult than his first. Within two months of Cleveland's inauguration, the United States entered into one of the worst economic depressions in its history.

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

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Stan Busby and Maurice Joyce. 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.

总统克里夫兰个人慨述

  克利夫兰于1837年3月18日出生于在新泽西州卡尔德威尔的一个公理会牧师家庭。是查理·法利·克利夫兰和安·尼尔·克利夫兰九个孩子中的第五个。父亲是一名律师。 他11岁进入纽约费耶特维中学,1850年就读纽约克林顿文学院,1851年又回到了费耶特维中学。1859年,他取得了律师资格后,便和别人组织了布法罗律师事务所,并参加了民主党。成为律师并开始参加政治活动。1881年任布法罗市长,次年任纽约州州长。因敢于改革某些弊政,声望更高。
  克里夫兰在白宫内(油画)格罗弗克利夫兰是第一个民主党人在内战之后选举出来的总统,也是唯一一位离开白宫,并且4年之后再被任职的总统。
  在1887年12月他要求国会降低保护关税。1888年他谋求连任,但未成功。克利夫兰与共和党候选人本杰明·哈里森相比较,虽然他赢得大多数的欢迎,但是他却得到很少的选票。连任失败后,他去纽约市当了律师。四年后,1892年克利夫兰再次参加竟选并获胜。
  重新上台后,正遇美国金融大恐慌,工人频频罢工,克利夫兰采取了诸多强硬措施,包括对罢工工人进行镇压。克利夫兰对铁路罢工者的处理方式激起很多美国人的骄傲。但是,他的政策在经济萧条期一般是不受欢迎的。对外,克利夫兰采取孤立主义政策,反对领土扩张。
  第二次任满后,克利夫兰返回新泽西。此时,他拥有30—35万美元的财产,他本人还在一家人寿保险公司供职。他先后两次出任总统,但任期不相连接。由于政绩平平,被历史学家称为“虎头蛇尾”的总统。

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