当前位置:首页 > America's Presidents > 正文

Richard Nixon: Resigned

2017-11-13

源 稿 窗
大字
小字
 折叠显示 
 全文显示 
[00:05.99]
  • VOA Learning English presents America’s Presidents.
  • [00:12.20]
  • Today we are talking about Richard Nixon.
  • [00:16.53]
  • Nixon is well-known to many Americans for one reason: he was the only president to resign from the position.
  • [00:27.26]
  • Facing possible legal action by Congress, Nixon left office early in his second term.
  • [00:35.37]
  • Nixon’s early political career was marked by success.
  • [00:40.83]
  • He also had some noteworthy achievements during his White House years.
  • [00:47.42]
  • And he attained his goal of moving the government in a more conservative direction.
  • [00:54.01]
  • In his later years, Nixon and his supporters tried to reclaim his place as an expert on international affairs.
  • [01:04.63]
  • But for many Americans, the name “Nixon” remains linked to distrust of national leaders, abuse of power, and political wrongdoing.
  • [01:29.23]
  • Richard Nixon had a difficult early life.
  • [01:36.20]
  • He was the second of five sons in a Quaker family.
  • [01:40.58]
  • His parents owned a lemon ranch in California, near the city of Los Angeles.
  • [01:46.84]
  • But the family struggled financially.
  • [01:50.29]
  • And two of Richard’s brothers died – one as a small child, and one as a young adult.
  • [01:57.21]
  • In time, his parent’s business failed, and the Nixons moved to a nearby town.
  • [02:04.64]
  • The parents and children all worked at a filling station that sold fuel and other products.
  • [02:12.36]
  • Despite the many hours he worked at the store, Richard Nixon was a top student in high school.
  • [02:20.08]
  • He was offered financial aid to attend Harvard University,
  • [02:24.85]
  • but the family needed even more money to send him there.
  • [02:29.03]
  • Instead, he attended a local college, where he became the student body president, joined a debate team, acted in the theater, and played football.
  • [02:42.17]
  • Nixon went on to law school at Duke University in North Carolina.
  • [02:47.81]
  • Even with his impressive background, he did not get the jobs he sought at the Federal Bureau of Investigation – the FBI – or top law offices.
  • [02:59.38]
  • So he returned the California town where he grew up and began working as a lawyer.
  • [03:06.10]
  • There, he married another actor at the community theater.
  • [03:11.65]
  • Her name was Thelma Ryan, but she was called Pat.
  • [03:16.28]
  • The Nixons went on to have two daughters, Tricia and Julie.
  • [03:21.28]
  • In 1942, Nixon accepted a job with the federal government in Washington, DC.
  • [03:28.49]
  • He did not stay in the position long.
  • [03:32.01]
  • After the United States entered World War II, Nixon joined the Navy.
  • [03:37.39]
  • He served as an officer in the Pacific.
  • [03:40.07]
  • When he returned to the U.S., Republican Party officials asked him to be a candidate for Congress.
  • [03:47.81]
  • Nixon agreed. He won two terms in the House of Representatives, and then a seat in the U.S. Senate.
  • [03:56.42]
  • Two years later, Dwight Eisenhower, the Republican presidential candidate, asked Nixon to be his vice president.
  • [04:05.89]
  • The two men won in an electoral landslide, and in 1953 Nixon took office as vice president.
  • [04:15.53]
  • He was only 40 years old, the second-youngest vice president in U.S. history.
  • [04:34.87]
  • Nixon’s early political career is remembered for several reasons.
  • [04:40.37]
  • One is how quickly he rose to high government office.
  • [04:45.48]
  • Another is for his part in the Alger Hiss case in the late 1940s.
  • [04:51.97]
  • Hiss was a top official in the State Department.
  • [04:55.47]
  • He was accused of being a Communist in the 1930s and 1940s, and of passing information about the U.S. government to Soviet spies.
  • [05:07.11]
  • Hiss denied the accusations.
  • [05:10.38]
  • The case was big news in the United States.
  • [05:15.09]
  • It showed the clash between people who believed Hiss was falsely accused as a way to discredit liberal policies,
  • [05:23.93]
  • and people who believed the government was protecting communist sympathizers.
  • [05:30.33]
  • Nixon was in the second group.
  • [05:33.36]
  • He was part of the investigation against Hiss and pushed for his indictment.
  • [05:39.76]
  • Nixon’s efforts succeeded, and Hiss went to jail for almost four years.
  • [05:46.14]
  • Later, Nixon said that the case was one of the reasons for his rise to power.
  • [05:52.15]
  • Nixon also earned national attention with an event that has become known as the Checkers speech.
  • [06:01.20]
  • It happened in 1952, when Nixon was running for vice president.
  • [06:06.77]
  • Some reporters accused Nixon of corruption.
  • [06:11.34]
  • They said he was accepting money and gifts from wealthy donors in exchange for his political support.
  • [06:19.23]
  • Nixon went on television to deny the claims personally.
  • [06:24.26]
  • At the time, Americans were not used to seeing politicians speaking directly to the public.
  • [06:32.25]
  • Yet Nixon spoke informally and emotionally, from what appeared to be a home.
  • [06:39.51]
  • He explained his family’s finances.
  • [06:43.10]
  • He said he did not accept campaign donations for personal benefit.
  • [06:49.26]
  • But, he added, there was one exception.
  • [06:52.95]
  • A supporter had once given the Nixon children a black and white dog they called Checkers.
  • [07:00.63]
  • Nixon said he refused to return his daughters’ pet.
  • [07:05.24]
  • The public – and Republican Party officials – loved the speech.
  • [07:11.68]
  • Nixon appeared warm and likable.
  • [07:14.33]
  • Middle-class Americans especially said they could relate to him.
  • [07:19.79]
  • Most forgot the claims against him.
  • [07:22.56]
  • And Nixon’s political career was saved.
  • [07:26.02]
  • During the following eight years, he served as vice president in the Eisenhower administration.
  • [07:33.09]
  • But then Nixon’s luck turned.
  • [07:36.97]
  • In 1960, Nixon lost as a presidential candidate to John F. Kennedy. He blamed, in part, the media.
  • [07:46.68]
  • Then in 1962, he lost his efforts to be governor of California.
  • [07:52.52]
  • Nixon said he was retiring from politics.
  • [07:56.64]
  • He famously told reporters, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
  • [08:02.98]
  • Yet seven years later, he was in the White House.
  • [08:07.70]
  • It was one of the most memorable comebacks in U.S. political history.
  • [08:38.83]
  • When Nixon took office in 1969, some Americans thought the country was in crisis.
  • [08:46.98]
  • The economy was not doing well.
  • [08:49.58]
  • Race riots had been erupting in big cities.
  • [08:53.28]
  • Many people were still trying to recover from the violence of a year earlier.
  • [08:58.28]
  • Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior and President John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert had both been shot and killed.
  • [09:07.45]
  • Pollution of the environment was becoming a major political issue.
  • [09:11.72]
  • Women were pressing for equal rights.
  • [09:13.99]
  • And many Americans continued to protest American involvement in Vietnam.
  • [09:19.49]
  • Nixon took action.
  • [09:21.79]
  • During his first years in office, he supported reforms and rules to improve the economy; protect the environment; increase workplace and other opportunities for women; support civil rights; and, in his words, bring “peace with honor” in Vietnam.
  • [09:41.41]
  • But, for the most part, Nixon did not have the support of Congress to enact legislation.
  • [09:49.21]
  • So he expanded the power of the presidency to carry out his goals.
  • [09:55.00]
  • He is remembered especially for three foreign policy moves.
  • [10:00.18]
  • In 1972, he visited China, with which the U.S. government had tense relations since the Chinese Communist Party took power.
  • [10:11.63]
  • As the Alger Hiss case showed, Nixon was strongly anti-communist.
  • [10:18.25]
  • But he made establishing diplomatic relations between the two sides possible again.
  • [10:25.52]
  • He also visited the Soviet Union, and was the first U.S. president to visit Moscow.
  • [10:32.51]
  • Nixon and the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, agreed to limit the growth of nuclear arms.
  • [10:40.00]
  • Their actions helped ease tensions at a time when U.S. officials were worried about the expansion of communism.
  • [10:50.64]
  • And Nixon did succeed in reaching a peace agreement with North Vietnamese leaders.
  • [10:56.94]
  • In 1973, American troops slowly began to leave the country, although fighting there continued.
  • [11:06.79]
  • Nixon’s foreign policy achievements helped him in the 1972 election campaign.
  • [11:14.45]
  • His first presidential election had been extremely close; the second he won by one of the widest electoral vote margins in U.S. history.
  • [11:44.66]
  • Even though he was popular with voters, Nixon had been concerned about his political future.
  • [11:52.84]
  • Nixon was so worried that, before the election, he created a secret team to prevent any damaging information from reaching the media.
  • [12:04.45]
  • Later, its job expanded to include investigating any information that might hurt his public image.
  • [12:12.77]
  • About five months before Election Day, five men broke into the opposition party’s headquarters at the Watergate, a hotel and office complex, in Washington, DC.
  • [12:26.90]
  • The team had already stolen copies of secret campaign documents.
  • [12:32.97]
  • Now, in the middle of the night, the men were trying to add listening equipment to the telephones – in other words, spy on the opposition.
  • [12:44.23]
  • But a security guard became suspicious and called the police.
  • [12:49.66]
  • The men were caught and arrested.
  • [12:52.89]
  • When the story came to light, Nixon publicly denied that any White House officials were involved in the crime.
  • [13:00.58]
  • But in time, the public learned that Nixon was lying.
  • [13:05.33]
  • In fact, he assisted with payments to the men who were arrested.
  • [13:10.70]
  • And he tried to use the Central Intelligence Agency to block an FBI investigation of the crime.
  • [13:19.46]
  • Nixon knew that the Watergate break-in was only part of the illegal or questionable acts he could be held responsible for.
  • [13:29.58]
  • Later, people connected with Nixon told investigators that the president had taped everything that happened in his office.
  • [13:39.21]
  • Investigators demanded the tapes.
  • [13:43.24]
  • They would prove how much Nixon knew about the illegal operations.
  • [13:47.96]
  • The president refused.
  • [13:50.39]
  • He dismissed the lead investigator.
  • [13:53.19]
  • Two other Justice Department officials resigned in protest.
  • [13:58.57]
  • A new investigator was appointed, and the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release the tapes.
  • [14:07.65]
  • At the same time, the House of Representatives voted to remove Nixon from office.
  • [14:15.05]
  • They charged him with obstructing justice, abusing his power, covering up a crime, and violating the Constitution.
  • [14:25.86]
  • Finally, Nixon released the tapes.
  • [14:29.34]
  • But before the Senate could hold a trial – in which the president would almost certainly be found guilty – Richard Nixon resigned.
  • [14:38.91]
  • He left the White House the following day.
  • [15:00.30]
  • Nixon lived for 20 more years.
  • [15:03.02]
  • He wrote a number of books, traveled, spent time with his family, and offered foreign policy advice to other leaders.
  • [15:12.52]
  • He continued to deny that he had done anything criminal as president; instead, Nixon said he had made bad decisions.
  • [15:22.89]
  • And he did not go to trial.
  • [15:25.59]
  • The next president, Gerald Ford, used his power to pardon Nixon “for all offenses against the United States.”
  • [15:35.23]
  • But Nixon’s image was permanently damaged.
  • [15:39.83]
  • Most people found evidence in the tapes that Nixon knew about a related series of crimes commonly known as “Watergate.”
  • [15:49.40]
  • They also found that some of his public statements were dishonest.
  • [15:54.45]
  • They said he made them to forward his own political goals, not to further the public good.
  • [16:01.52]
  • As a result, Nixon’s place in U.S. history is generally thought to be a troubled one.
  • [16:09.64]
  • To be sure, he made a number of positive accomplishments, both within the U.S. and internationally.
  • [16:17.53]
  • But his presidency left the country shaken.
  • [16:20.87]
  • When Ford replaced him as president, he said to Americans, “Our long national nightmare is over.”
  • [16:35.43]
  • I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
  • 如您有建议或意见点击这里给我们留言