当前位置:首页 > America's Presidents > 正文

Ulysses S. Grant: Well-Meaning

2017-07-03

源 稿 窗
大字
小字
 折叠显示 
 全文显示 
[00:05.80]
  • VOA Learning English presents America’s Presidents.
  • [00:12.30]
  • Today we are talking about Ulysses S. Grant. He took office in 1869.
  • [00:21.36]
  • But his presidency is not what made him famous.
  • [00:26.60]
  • Grant is best remembered for being the commander of Union forces at the end of the Civil War.
  • [00:35.43]
  • He led the United States to victory over the Confederate States of America.
  • [00:42.93]
  • Many Americans also remember Grant because of the unusual story about his middle initial.
  • [00:51.67]
  • When the future 18th president was born, his parents named him Hiram Ulysses Grant.
  • [01:00.63]
  • But the boy was known as Ulysses.
  • [01:04.04]
  • When Grant was a young man, a member of Congress appointed him to a top college: the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
  • [01:16.54]
  • The congressman did not know Grant personally.
  • [01:20.79]
  • He thought Grant used his mother’s family name, Simpson, as his middle name.
  • [01:28.18]
  • So the congressman called him Ulysses S. Grant.
  • [01:33.22]
  • The middle initial “S” became official. Years later, Grant joked that it did not mean anything.
  • [01:43.37]
  • During the Civil War, however, Grant’s middle name did come to have a popular meaning.
  • [01:51.18]
  • In a famous battle in the state of Tennessee, Grant’s army overpowered their opponents.
  • [01:58.81]
  • The Confederate general sent a note asking for the terms of surrender -- in other words, what would the Union army require of them if they withdrew from the battle?
  • [02:12.04]
  • General Grant replied: “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender.”
  • [02:19.83]
  • The answer did not please the Confederate general, but he agreed.
  • [02:25.72]
  • In the North, people celebrated the victory.
  • [02:29.31]
  • They began saying Grant’s first two initials stood for “Unconditional Surrender.”
  • [02:50.32]
  • Grant was born in the state of Ohio. He was the oldest of six children.
  • [02:57.06]
  • Grant’s father worked as a tanner – a person who makes leather from animal skin.
  • [03:03.94]
  • As a boy, Grant helped his father. But he did not like the work.
  • [03:10.12]
  • He said he would not do it when he was an adult.
  • [03:13.73]
  • So, when Grant was a young man, his father asked West Point officials to admit his son as a student.
  • [03:23.25]
  • The Grants had little money to pay for the boy’s college education.
  • [03:28.49]
  • But they knew he was intelligent and skilled, and West Point was free.
  • [03:35.28]
  • In exchange for their education, West Point graduates serve in the military.
  • [03:42.75]
  • Grant probably did not seem like a soldier.
  • [03:46.37]
  • He was quiet and sensitive. He hated seeing men die in battle, and he questioned the value of war.
  • [03:55.53]
  • But he turned out to be an excellent military leader.
  • [04:00.52]
  • After he graduated from West Point, he fought in the Mexican War and earned medals for bravery.
  • [04:08.28]
  • He was given more power and added responsibilities.
  • [04:12.65]
  • However, Grant was lonely. Early in his career, he married Julia Dent, the sister of a college friend.
  • [04:22.64]
  • He was devoted to Julia and their four children.
  • [04:26.98]
  • But his family could not come with Grant on all his deployments for the military.
  • [04:32.05]
  • They were separated for years at a time.
  • [04:36.10]
  • Without his family nearby, Grant began having problems with money.
  • [04:41.72]
  • Some people said he also drank too much alcohol.
  • [04:46.02]
  • One day, Grant resigned from the army.
  • [04:50.18]
  • He returned home to his family. At first, he tried to farm, but he could not make enough money.
  • [04:57.80]
  • Then he tried other jobs.
  • [05:00.52]
  • Finally, he asked his father for help.
  • [05:03.70]
  • His father gave him a job, but it was the one the young Grant swore he never wanted: working in a leather shop.
  • [05:31.50]
  • Then things took a surprising turn.
  • [05:34.80]
  • The Civil War began. The Union needed experienced military leaders.
  • [05:41.62]
  • Grant accepted a position leading a difficult group of troops.
  • [05:46.96]
  • He was able to train them and earn their respect.
  • [05:50.99]
  • Quickly, Grant’s public image as a military leader grew.
  • [05:56.07]
  • He won major victories for the Union in battles at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • [06:04.71]
  • The president at the time, Abraham Lincoln, liked the way Grant planned the battles.
  • [06:12.09]
  • He also liked that Grant did everything he could to win.
  • [06:17.57]
  • Grant permitted so many of his soldiers to die that his critics gave him a nickname: The Butcher.
  • [06:25.57]
  • Grant’s methods were harsh, but effective.
  • [06:29.88]
  • The Civil War effectively ended when the famous Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
  • [06:41.71]
  • The following year, Grant was named general of the U.S. armies.
  • [06:47.63]
  • The only other person to hold that position was the military leader during the Revolutionary War, George Washington.
  • [07:20.29]
  • Like George Washington, Grant became president although he did not really seek the position.
  • [07:29.25]
  • But Republican Party leaders realized that the former general was very popular.
  • [07:36.38]
  • And they knew that Grant opposed the policies of the president at the time, Andrew Johnson.
  • [07:43.86]
  • So the Republicans nominated Grant as their candidate in 1868. He won easily.
  • [07:52.35]
  • But Grant’s popularity and ability as a military leader did not make him a successful president.
  • [08:00.43]
  • Grant tried to work for the political and civil rights of African-Americans, many of whom had been enslaved.
  • [08:08.79]
  • One of Grant’s most important acts was to support the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • [08:16.24]
  • The measure gave African-American men the right to vote.
  • [08:21.99]
  • At the same time, Grant tried to give states control over their own laws.
  • [08:28.04]
  • So, sometimes he used the power of the federal government to protect the rights of African-Americans.
  • [08:35.98]
  • And he sometimes let states use violence to prevent African-Americans from exercising their rights.
  • [08:44.72]
  • Grant also spoke about treating Native Americans with greater respect.
  • [08:50.79]
  • He used government resources to help native people become farmers.
  • [08:56.98]
  • But other government policies helped white settlers continue to push tribes off their lands.
  • [09:05.66]
  • Few Native Americans saw their lives really improve under Grant.
  • [09:12.45]
  • Finally, his administration suffered because of corrupt government officials.
  • [09:18.66]
  • Grant himself did not get rich from their actions.
  • [09:22.96]
  • But he remained loyal to people who worked for him, even when they profited from their position.
  • [09:30.54]
  • As a result of all this, many Americans lost interest in Reconstruction and lost faith in the federal government.
  • [09:39.55]
  • But Grant himself remained popular.
  • [09:43.90]
  • He won a second term more easily than the first.
  • [09:48.60]
  • Shortly after, the country entered a bad economic depression.
  • [09:54.66]
  • Grant tried to improve the situation by supporting the gold standard.
  • [10:00.13]
  • But many Americans – of all backgrounds – continued to suffer.
  • [10:24.10]
  • Because of the problems in his government, Grant is not remembered as one of the country’s best presidents.
  • [10:31.95]
  • But he is remembered as a war hero and as a kind-hearted man with an interesting life.
  • [10:40.00]
  • In his last months, Grant worked nearly nonstop on writing his memoirs.
  • [10:46.28]
  • Final images show him, covered in a blanket and with a pen in his hand, diligently working.
  • [10:54.48]
  • Grant died in 1885, a few days after the book was finished.
  • [11:00.59]
  • It was a major success.
  • [11:02.76]
  • It earned enough money to provide for his family for the rest of their lives.
  • [11:08.06]
  • People across the country mourned the loss of Grant.
  • [11:12.75]
  • More than a million and a half watched his funeral parade in New York City.
  • [11:19.05]
  • He is buried there, along with his beloved wife, in a well-known memorial popularly called Grant’s Tomb.
  • [11:35.47]
  • I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
  • 如您有建议或意见点击这里给我们留言