Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Four Western National Parks, from VOA


I'm Faith Lapidus.


And I'm Steve Ember with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today, we explore some national parks of great beauty in the American West.



Millions of people from all over the world visit the state of Utah every year. One reason is the many national parks. These are areas of great natural beauty that are protected by the United States government. More than three hundred fifty national parks can be found in the United States. Today we will visit four of them -- all in the state of Utah. These parks include huge colored rock formations, rivers, waterfalls, beautiful trees, other plants and many different kinds of wild animals.


The first area we will visit is Arches National Park, near the town of Moab in eastern Utah. Experts say this park has the greatest number of arches of any similar geographic area in the world. Arches are formations that look like half a circle above an opening or hole in a rock. Arches can also appear as curved bridges between two large rocks.

Scientists say the area began forming almost two thousand million years ago. As time passed, the area filled with material left by rivers. Other rocks buried the area. Then great pressure deep in the Earth created huge mountains.

A soft rock called sandstone began moving under this pressure. The sandstone moved upwards when it met other, harder rocks. These sandstone structures continued to grow for about one hundred fifty million years.

Arches developed from thin rock walls. They resulted when pieces of sandstone fell away from the formations. Scientists say water is the most important element in creating arches. Water destroys the chemicals that keep rock particles together. The rock breaks as the water freezes and expands. Then the wind blows away the loose rock particles.


Scientists say that most arches seen today developed within the past million years. But they say the land formation continues to change slowly over time. New arches form. Older ones fall away. The National Park Service has counted more than two thousand arches in Arches National Park. The smallest of these is an opening of less than one meter; the longest measures more than ninety-three meters.

The rock formations in Arches National Park are mostly a deep red color. Rocks get their color from minerals. The red color is the result of iron oxide or rust. Scientists say the presence of iron in the rock shows that the weather was hot and dry when the rock was first formed.



Arches National Park is not the only place in Utah where visitors can see arches and other beautiful rock formations. They are also found in the nearby national park named Canyonlands.

Canyonlands National Park is a wild, lonely area of rocks, rivers and desert plants. Only Native Americans, cowboys, and explorers entered this area before the park was established in nineteen sixty-four. Even today, it is difficult to walk or ride through the park. The roads are still made of dirt. Driving requires a special vehicle. The National Park Service says Canyonlands National Park is wild America.


Rivers created the area as they cut rock into many different formations. At the center of the park are two deep canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. Three areas that surround these rivers are included in the park.

One of these areas is called the Maze District. This area includes rock art made by people who lived there more than two thousand years ago. Yet many people today cannot see the Maze District because it is so difficult to reach. The area is one of the loneliest and wildest in the United States.

Another area of the park is called the Needles. It includes long, thin, red and white rocks that reach high into the air like fingers on a hand.


A good way to see all the areas of Canyonlands National Park is to fly over it. A one-hour trip in a small airplane makes it possible to see the park's red rocks, arches and flat areas where ancient Indian people once lived.

From high in the air, visitors can clearly see the third area of the park -- a high broad flat rock known as the Island in the Sky. The island was formed between the two rivers.

Another interesting formation is called the Upheaval Dome. This is a huge hole about four hundred fifty meters deep and one and one half kilometers wide. It is considered to be the most unusual geologic structure in the area.



Two other national parks in Utah are included on our trip. The first is Bryce Canyon National Park, in southern Utah. The rock formations there are the result of deposits made by ancient lakes and rivers over a period of about twenty million years. The walls and cliffs of Bryce Canyon once were completely covered with water.

About two million people visit Bryce Canyon National Park each year. The park reaches a height of more than three thousand meters. It includes more than eighty kilometers of trails for walking. Or visitors can drive a twenty-nine kilometer long road, stopping off at different points to enjoy the colorful formations.

These rock formations at Bryce National Park are extremely beautiful. Sunlight makes many of them appear to be the color of fire. Some of the most unusual kinds of rocks in the park are called hoodoos. They are tall and thin, and seem to grow from the canyon floor. Their colors are bright red, orange and yellow. Some of the hoodoos have interesting shapes and names, like Thor's Hammer, the Hunter, and the Wall of Windows. One hoodoo known as the Poodle looks like a poodle dog sitting on top of a long narrow rock.



The fourth and final park we will visit today is Zion National Park. It is not far from Bryce. But it is very different. About three million people visit the park each year. Zion National Park is an area of huge rocks that were cut through by a river. The area is really a desert, receiving only about thirty-five centimeters of rain a year.

Visitors to Zion National Park are surprised by the huge mountain structures of red, pink and white. Driving is restricted in much of the park. Instead, visitors travel in small buses that take them to areas where they can walk on paths into the wild areas.

One easy walk is almost two kilometers. It takes hikers to a clear pool of water and waterfalls. One of the more difficult walks is an eight kilometer hike that is not for anyone afraid of high places. That is because the path ends at the top of a rock high above Zion Canyon. Another hike is a twenty-two kilometer walk that ends at an unusual rock formation. Experts say it could be the world's largest free-standing arch.


Visitors who choose not to take long walks can leave the small bus at different stops. At each stop, they can walk a short path to a viewing area where they can see a different part of the park. Some of the huge mountains have interesting names.

One of the park's largest sandstone formations is known as the Sentinel. Another area includes three mountains next to each other. They are called the Three Patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were given the names by a visiting Christian church leader in nineteen sixteen.


Visitors to Zion National Park can sleep under the stars in a camping area. Or they can stay at the hotel in the park. Many people stay in the nearby town of Springdale and travel into the park each day.

Of course, visiting these parks includes time to watch local wildlife. Visitors can see all kinds of birds, deer, foxes, and even mountain lions, elk, moose and bears. But they must be careful not to get too close. Many wild animals can be dangerous if they feel threatened.

Most people who visit America's national parks bring a camera and take many pictures. They want to enjoy again and again the natural beauty of the rocks, plants and wild animals. But many who have seen the parks we have described today say that such pictures cannot really capture the huge, beautiful areas of land. These visitors say that they will never forget the beauty of the four national parks in Utah.



This program was written by Nancy Steinbach. It was produced by Mario Ritter. You can read this report online and download audio at I'm Faith Lapidus.


And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English.


1. The most important element in the formation of arches is __________

a. sandstone.
b. wind.
c. water.
d. heat.

2. The "Needles" are located in __________
a. Bryce Canyon.
b. Arches Park.
c. Zion National Park.
d. Canyonlands.

3. If wild animals feel threatened, they can be __________
a. dangerous.
b. approached.
c. fed potato chips.
d. loving.

4. Every year, Zion National Park is visited by __________ people.
a. one thousand
b. three million
c. two hundred
d. two million

5. The greatest number of natural stone arches in the world are found __________________ .
a. near the town of Moab, Utah
b. not far from Salt Lake City, Utah
c. in southern Utah
d. in northern Arizona

6. The parks in Utah are famous for their __________
a. wild life.
b. rivers.
c. rock formations.
d. amenities.

7. Red is the predominant color of the rocks. This deep red color comes from __________
a. iron oxide.
b. native American painting.
c. vivid sunsets.
d. ancient pigmentation.

8. A rock in the shape of a poodle dog can be found in __________
a. Arches National Park.
b. Zion National Park.
c. Bryce Canyon Park.
d. Canyonlands Park.

9. Another name for this article could be __________ .
a. "Canyonlands journey"
b. "How Arches are Formed"
c. "Utah's Wonders"
d. "Colorado Trails"

10. This article is mainly about __________
a. rock formations.
b. lonely places.
c. desert getaways.
d. four parks in Utah.

The following is a beautiful video from Youtube in High Definition. It has a nice
musical score that fits the mood of these strange landscapes. Click between the four arrows in the lower right hand corner to see the video in full size. Just relax and watch it, allowing yourself to be pulled into the rich, varied, and beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Settlers Rush to Claim Western Land", from Voice of America.

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

In the late eighteen hundreds, white Americans expanded their settlements in the western part of the country. They claimed land traditionally used by American Indians. The Indians were hunters, and they struggled to keep control of their hunting lands.

The federal government supported the settlers' claims. It fought, and won, several wars with Indian tribes. It forced the Indians to live on government-controlled reservations.

This week in our series, Larry West and Steve Ember tell about the people who settled on the old Indian lands after the wars.

LARRY WEST: After the Indians were defeated, thousands of settlers hurried west. Some hoped to find new, rich farmland. The soil they left behind was thin and overworked. Their crops were poor. Some simply hoped to buy any kind of farmland. They did not have enough money to buy farmland in the east.

Others came from other countries and hoped to build new lives in the United States.

All the settlers found it easy to get land in the West. In eighteen sixty-two, Congress had passed the Homestead Act. This law gave every citizen, and every foreigner who asked for citizenship, the right to claim government land. The law said each man could have sixty-five hectares. If he built a home on the land, and farmed it for five years, it would be his. He paid just ten dollars to record the deal.

STEVE EMBER: Claiming land on the Great Plains was easy. Building a farm there and working it was not so easy. The wide flat grasslands seemed strange to men who had lived among the hills and forests of the east.

Here there were few hills or trees. Without trees, settlers had no wood to build houses. Some built houses partly underground. Others built houses from blocks of earth cut out of the grassland. These houses were dark and dirty. They leaked and became muddy when it rained.

There were no fences on the Great Plains. So it was hard to keep animals away from crops.

LARRY WEST: Settlers in the American west also had a problem faced by many people in the world today. They had little fuel for heating and cooking. With few trees to cut for fuel, they collected whatever they could find. Small woody plants. Dried grass. Cattle and buffalo wastes.

Water was hard to find, too. And although the land seemed rich, it was difficult to prepare for planting. The grass roots were thick and strong. They did not break apart easily. The weather also was a problem. Sometimes months would pass without rain, and the crops would die. Winters were bitterly cold.

STEVE EMBER: Most of the settlers, however, were strong people. They did not expect an easy life. And as time passed, they found solutions to most of the problems of farming on the Great Plains. Railroads were built across the west. They brought wood for homes. Wood and coal for fuel.

Technology solved many of the problems. New equipment was invented for digging deep wells. Better pumps were built to raise the water to the surface. Some of the pumps used windmills for power.

LARRY WEST: The fence problem was solved in eighteen seventy-four. That was the year "barbed wire" was invented. The sharp metal barbs tore the skin of the men who stretched it along fence tops. But they prevented cattle from pushing over the fences and destroying crops.

New farm equipment was invented. This included a plow that could break up the grassland of the plains. And farmers learned techniques for farming in dry weather.

STEVE EMBER: Most of the problems on the plains could be solved. But solving them cost money.

A farmer could get wood to build his house. But he had to buy the wood and pay the railroad to bring it west. To farm the plains, he needed barbed wire for fences, and plows and other new equipment. All these things cost money. So a plains farmer had to grow crops that were in big demand. He usually put all his efforts into producing just one or two crops.

LARRY WEST: The farmers of the plains did well at first. There was enough rain. Huge crops of wheat and corn were produced. Much of the grain was sold in Europe and farmers got good prices.

The farmers, however, were not satisfied. They were angry about several things. One was the high cost of sending their crops to market. The only way to transport their grain was by railroad. And railroad prices were very high for farm products--higher than for anything else.

The railroads also owned the big buildings where grain was stored. Farmers had to pay to keep their grain there until it was sold. They said storage costs were too high.

STEVE EMBER: The farmers were angry about the high cost of borrowing money, too. They opposed the import taxes -- tariffs -- they had to pay on foreign products. Some of the tariffs were as high as sixty percent. Congress had set the levels high to protect American industry from foreign competition. But farmers said they were the victims of this policy, because it increased their costs.

Farmers as individuals could do nothing to change the situation. But if they united in a group, they thought, perhaps they could influence government policy.

LARRY WEST: Farmers began to unite in local social and cultural groups called "granges." As more and more farmers joined granges, the groups began to act on economic problems.

Farmers organized cooperatives to buy equipment and supplies in large amounts directly from factories. The cost of goods was lower when bought in large amounts. The granges also began to organize for political action. Local granges became part of the national grange movement.

Grange supporters won control of state legislatures in a number of middle western states. They passed laws to limit the cost of railroad transportation and crop storage.

Railroads refused to obey these laws. They fought the measures in the courts. They did not win. Finally, they appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

STEVE EMBER: The railroads said the laws were not constitutional, because they interfered with the right of Congress to control trade between the states. The railroads said states could not control transportation costs. To do so would reduce profits for the railroad. And that would be the same as taking property from the railroad without legal approval.

The Supreme Court rejected this argument. In a decision in eighteen seventy-six, the Supreme Court said states had a legal right to control costs of railroad transportation. It said owners of property in which the public has an interest must accept public control for the common good.

The farmers seemed to have won. But the powerful railroad companies continued to struggle against controls. They reduced some transportation costs, but only after long court fights.

LARRY WEST: The granges tried to get Congress to pass laws giving the federal government power to control the railroads. Congress refused to act.

Many farmers lost hope that the granges could force the railroads to make any real cuts in their costs. They began to leave the organization. Others left because the economy had improved. They no longer felt a need to protest. Within a few years, the national grange had lost most of its members. Some local groups continued to meet. But they took no part in politics.

New protests groups would be formed in a few years when farmers once again faced hard times. But for now -- in the late eighteen seventies -- times were good. Most people were satisfied.

We will continue this story next week.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Larry West and Steve Ember. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"The Craving for Cupcakes" from VOA.


Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Faith Lapidus.


And I'm Steve Ember. To some people, they are nothing more than a harmless treat or a guilty pleasure to enjoy from time to time. To others, they are enemies of the public health in a time of what the World Health Organization calls a "global obesity epidemic." But one thing is sure: foods like doughnuts and cupcakes are a big business. This week on our program, we tell you about a few kinds of foods that some Americans find hard to resist.

(MUSIC: "Sugar, Sugar" / The Archies)


Grocery stores in the United States sold almost half a billion dollars worth of freshly made doughnuts last year. And that is not all.

The Perishables Group is a consulting company in the fresh food industry. It says those doughnuts represented just sixty percent or so of all the doughnuts sold in supermarkets. And the sales total does not include all the doughnuts sold in specialty stores.


A doughnut is a round piece of fried dough with a hole in the middle or filled with cream or jelly. The traditional spelling is d-o-u-g-h-n-u-t but people often just spell it d-o-n-u-t.

A lot of places that sell coffee also sell doughnuts. But there are stores like Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme that make many different kinds of donuts. Some people call these "designer doughnuts."

That name could also describe a dessert served at Buddakan, a modern-Asian restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of its most popular desserts is called Dip Sum Doughnuts. Buddakan pastry chef Kate Honeyman explains.

KATE HONEYMAN: "They are small, round doughnuts, they're served in a Chinese take-out box and they're coated in a cinnamon and five-spice sugar. And we serve them with a trio of dipping sauces --chocolate, ginger cream cheese and a blackberry jam."

BROOK LEVIN: "They arrived in a cardboard take-out box similar to when you get Chinese food to bring home."


This is Brook Levin, a retired teacher who ordered the dessert at Buddakan in Philadelphia.

BROOK LEVIN: "And the box was open and there were probably about five or six of these little round, yummy-smelling warm doughnuts in there. And next to them on the plate was, it was a sectioned plate, and there were three different dipping sauces that you could use to make them even better. Yummy, just delicious."

(MUSIC: "If I Knew You Were Comin', I'd've Baked a Cake")


From doughnuts we move on to cupcakes. There are chocolate, vanilla and other kinds. Cupcakes are generally topped with frosting and served still inside the paper baking cup in which they were made.

Cupcakes have been around for a long time. Children love them. But in recent years a lot of adults have found reason to love them, too.

AMANDA BLOSS: "Cupcakes are cool because they're having your own personal cake instead of having to share with a lot of people. You get one especially for you."


Amanda Bloss is a college student from Fairfax, Virginia, near Washington. She is a fan of cupcakes. In fact, she has even been to the Magnolia Bakery in New York City which helped spread the current craze.

AMANDA BLOSS: "Magnolia is wonderful. The first time I went I got a red velvet and a dark chocolate with mocha frosting and split it with my best friend. And it was the most amazing cupcake I've ever had in my life! [Laughs]"

(SOUND: "Lazy Sunday" / NBC's "Saturday Night Live")

That was from "Saturday Night Live" -- just one of the TV shows and movies that have featured the Magnolia Bakery in New York. But we met Amanda at a bakery in Fairfax called Cupcakes Actually. The Washington Post recently rated the cupcakes from there as some of the best in the capital area.

Jennifer Neiman (NY-man) and her sister Susan Woodhouse opened the bakery about a year ago, right in the middle of the Great Recession.

JENNIFER NEIMAN: "I mean I knew cupcakes were hot, but I didn't expect quite the sales for that first year. About a little over five hundred thousand in sales the first…

SUSAN WOODHOUSE: "nine months."


So why do they think cupcakes are so popular?

JENNIFER NEIMAN: "People can eat a cupcake and not feel like they're eating a whole piece of cake. It's just you know a guilty little pleasure, I think, for most, and it…

SUSAN WOODHOUSE: "You can offer more flavors instead of one cake you know you can offer six different kind of cupcakes."

Cupcake stores have opened in cities around the country. Some are even on wheels.

Curbside Cupcakes operates out of a truck that travels around Washington. Two friends, Kristi Cunningham and Sam Whitfield, started the company in November of two thousand nine. She was a business consultant and he was working as a lawyer.

Kristi says Sam got the idea because he did not want to go to a store to get a cupcake. He wanted the store to come to him. So now, people can go to the Curbside Cupcakes Web site and find out where the truck will be at each hour of the day. The information is also available on Facebook and Twitter.


We caught up with the truck about a block from the VOA studios. One of the many customers in line was Sarah Sullivan from Arlington, Virginia.

SARAH SULLIVAN: "They're accessible, I mean they go all around D.C. and really good quality cupcakes. I consider myself a connoisseur of good cupcakes and I think they make a good solid cupcake. During tough times -- I mean we are in a recession right now -- this is like affordable luxury. You know, it's like three dollars for something that's, I don't know, in my mind pretty luxurious."

Another customer in line at the Curbside Cupcakes truck was this woman, Pat Roberts from Leesburg, Virginia.

PAT ROBERTS: "Well, they're easy to eat, they're like bite-size portions which is better than cake or ice cream, so you don't feel like you get as many calories if you eat just one. You have the option of just eating one."


Kristi Cunningham says she and Sam Whitfield hope to expand Curbside Cupcakes within Washington and to surrounding areas. Right now they have just the one truck and their business permit is good only in the city. So when Kristi uses the truck to see her mother outside Washington, people are disappointed that she cannot stop to sell them cupcakes.

One more thing. Kristi and Sam were friends when they became business partners. Now, since opening Curbside Cupcakes, they have decided to get married.

But we'll let Jennifer Neiman, co-owner of Cupcakes Actually in Fairfax, Virginia, have the last word about the appeal of cupcakes.

JENNIFER NEIMAN: "Oh my goodness, you should see how people look when they walk in and see cupcakes. It's like Santa Claus was sitting behind that counter. They just -- I don't care if it's a ninety year old man or a two year old child or a thirty year old, you know, woman or man. Everybody just goes goo-goo eyed over cupcakes."

(MUSIC: "Sweets for My Sweet" / The Drifters)


One sweet treat that is fairly new to the United States is the macaron. That's m-a-c-a-r-o-n. People who have never heard of a macaron usually confuse it with the much better known treat spelled with two Os, the macaroon.

Rande Janus sells locally made macarons at his store, the Wine Cabinet, in Reston, Virginia. He explains the difference between a macaron and a macaroon.

RANDE JANUS: "People are used to bakery style macaroons which is coconut based. This is a very very different product. This is in the French European tradition, is its very very small just about the size of a half dollar or so. And once people taste them, they come back for more. It's as simple as that."


The modern macaron is a sandwich cookie basically made of sugar, almonds and egg whites around a creamy filling. The outside layers are a bit crunchy, then the soft part takes over and the whole thing seems to just melt in your mouth.

Macarons come in many different flavors. They include chocolate, coffee, salted caramel, raspberry, orange, eggnog, lemon, cinnamon, pistachio, even peanut butter and jelly.


Rande Janus says people come into his wine store looking for macarons after they taste them at a friend's house or a party or a wedding. So what does he think of their future with Americans?

RANDS JANUS: "I think it's going to be about the level that wine is. And basically ten percent of us buy ninety percent of the wine. So I don't see this as being on every table. But if people enjoy fine dining, if people enjoy entertaining, they're always looking for ways to enjoy their friends and family and impress them and have wonderful food, but not everyone has the time these days to prepare things themselves. So this type of product is just, they're a treat, they're something very, very special to be savored."



This program was written by Nancy Steinbach and produced by Caty Weaver. You can find transcripts, MP3 and archives of our programs, and sign up for podcasts, at You can also post comments on any of our stories. And you can follow us on Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Faith Lapidus.


And I'm Steve Ember. We hope you join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. Wow, I am really hungry after all this talk about doughnuts, cupcakes, macaroons and macarons. Do you think that cupcake truck is still in the area, Faith?


Oh, I'm right behind you ...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We need him NOW. From VOA.


I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Steve Ember with People in America in VOA Special English. Today we tell about one of the greatest American presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.



Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most influential presidents in American history. He was elected president four times. He served more than twelve years, longer than any other president. He led the nation through its worst economic crisis, and through one of its worst wars.

Franklin Roosevelt was first elected president in nineteen thirty-two. As the Democratic candidate, he defeated President Herbert Hoover. Americans were suffering through a terrible economic depression. About twenty-five percent of American workers had lost their jobs. They had no money. They had no hope. They waited in long lines to receive free food.

Americans did not know if the new president could end the economic crisis.


The new president, Franklin Roosevelt, was fifty-one years old. His family name was well known to the American public. Theodore Roosevelt, a distant relation, had been president of the United States thirty years before.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in eighteen eighty-two to a rich and important family in Hyde Park, New York. He was the only child of James and Sara Roosevelt. His mother tried to control Franklin's life as long as she lived. His father made sure his son had the best of everything. But he also taught Franklin that being rich brought with it the responsibility of helping people who were not so lucky.


Franklin married Eleanor Roosevelt in nineteen-oh-five. They were distant relations. In the next eleven years, they had six children.

In nineteen ten, Mister Roosevelt was elected to the New York state legislature. He showed he had great political skills as a state senator. His next job was in the federal government as assistant secretary of the navy under President Woodrow Wilson. Then in nineteen twenty, he was the Democratic Party's unsuccessful candidate for vice president.


In nineteen twenty-one, Franklin Roosevelt suffered a personal tragedy. He was with his family at their summer home. He began feeling very tired. Then he felt severe pain in his back and legs. He could not move. For weeks, he was forced to lie on his back.

His doctors discovered that he was a victim of the disabling disease polio. He lost the use of his legs. Franklin Roosevelt was thirty-nine years old. He had always been an active man who loved sports. But now he would never walk again without help.


Many Americans thought the sickness would end Franklin Roosevelt's political dreams. But they were wrong. He showed an inner strength that people respected. He was elected governor of New York State in nineteen twenty-eight and re-elected two years later. Franklin Roosevelt always appeared strong and friendly in public. He loved to laugh and enjoy life. But his friendly face hid a strong will. Throughout his life, Mister Roosevelt worked hard to improve life for the common man. He believed government had the power and responsibility to improve the lives of its citizens.

(MUSIC: - "Happy Days Are Here Again")


That music, "Happy Days Are Here Again," was played during Franklin Roosevelt's presidential campaign in nineteen thirty-two. A large majority of voters decided that maybe he could make that song come true. On Inauguration Day in nineteen thirty-three, the nation waited to hear what the new president would say about the economic future of their country. This is what he said:

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: "This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."


President Roosevelt promised to end the Depression. He promised to put Americans back to work. He said the federal government would take an active part in creating jobs. During the next three months, he led Congress in passing more major new programs than the nation had seen for many years. President Roosevelt called his reform program "The New Deal."

These are some of the programs created during this time: A National Recovery Administration allowed companies to cooperate to increase production. A Works Progress Administration provided jobs for unemployed workers. A Civilian Conservation Corps put young men to work protecting the nation's natural resources. The Tennessee Valley Authority built dams, cleared rivers, expanded forests and provided electricity in the southeastern part of the country.


In nineteen thirty-five, Congress passed two laws that would change the lives of working Americans for years to come. The National Labor Relations Act strengthened the rights of workers and gave more power to labor unions. The Social Security Act created a federal system to provide money for workers after they retired.

Franklin Roosevelt became one of the most loved and most hated presidents in the history of the country. The majority of Americans believed he was trying to save the country and protect common people. Opponents charged he was giving the federal government too much power and destroying private businesses.


Franklin Roosevelt tried to establish a close relationship with the American people. He became known by the first letters of his full name -- FDR. He talked to the American people by radio to explain what actions were being taken and what he planned for the future. These radio broadcasts helped him gain widespread support for his programs.

President Roosevelt ran for re-election in nineteen thirty-six. He defeated the Republican candidate Alfred Landon by one of the largest majorities in the nation's history.



In the late nineteen thirties, another crisis was growing more serious every day. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party in Germany threatened central Europe. Japanese forces carried out new aggression in Asia and the Pacific area. FDR warned Americans that a victory by these forces would threaten democracy everywhere in the world.

World War Two began in nineteen thirty-nine when Germany invaded Poland. Americans hoped Britain, France and the other Allied powers would defeat Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Yet Congress passed a law declaring the United States would remain neutral.


FDR was re-elected in nineteen forty. He was the only president to win a third term in the White House. On December seventh, nineteen forty-one, Japanese planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States was forced to enter the war. President Roosevelt cooperated closely with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the war effort. He discussed war efforts with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.


FDR was re-elected president for the fourth time in nineteen forty-four. Most Americans believed the country should not change its leader in the middle of a war. When he was sworn in, President Roosevelt's speech lasted only six minutes. He declared that America had learned "that we cannot live alone at peace, that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of nations far away."

President Roosevelt did not live to see the victory of the Allies and the end of World War Two. He died less than three months later, on April twelfth, nineteen forty-five, in Warm Springs, Georgia.


Winston Churchill wrote about the day he heard the news of the death of his close friend: "I felt as if I had been struck with a physical blow. My relations with this shining man had played so large a part in the long, terrible years we had worked together. Now that had come to an end. And I was overpowered by a sense of deep and permanent loss." Millions of people around the world joined Winston Churchill in mourning the death of America's thirty-second president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.



This program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Steve Ember.


And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week when we tell about Franklin Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, on People in America in VOA Special English.

1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt first became president in __________ .
a. 1940
b. 1860
c. 1932

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the only president who was elected ______________ .
a. twice
b. over age 50
c. under age 60
d. four times

3. In 1920, FDR was the Democratic Party's unsuccessful candidate for ___________ .
a. vice president
b. senator from New York
c. U.S. President
d. Secretary of the Navy

4. Eleanor Roosevelt married Franklin __________ he entered politics.
a. after
b. before
c. at the same time
d. because

5. After Franklin Delano Roosevelt became sick from Polio in 1921, he ________________ .
a. gave up politics
b. entered the army
c. became a very successful politician
d. married Eleanor Roosevelt

6. When the Second World War began in 1939, the United States decided to _____________ .
a. enter the war
b. attack Japan
c. remain neutral
d. conquer Germany

7. When Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, people hoped that he would ____________________ .
a. be like Herbert Hoover
b. participate in sports
c. talk to famous people
d. end The Great Depression

8. Franklin Roosevelt died before the end of ________________ .
a. World War Two
b. The Great Depression
c. the 1930s
d. the completion of his memoirs

9. Another name for this article could be ______________ .
a. "The End of The Great Depression"
b. "A Great American President"
c. "The Defeat of Nazi Germany"
d. "Our Only Fear is Fear Itself"

10. This story is mainly about _________________ .
a. how FDR conquered polio
b. Sara Roosevelt's influence on her son
c. responsibility for the less fortunate
d. the life of Franklin Roosevelt