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Thanksgiving Becomes a National Holiday: President Lincoln's Proclamation

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Explore how President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

description: a historic image depicting a gathering of people around a large table filled with delicious food, symbolizing the thanksgiving feast. the image shows individuals of diverse backgrounds, emphasizing the holiday's inclusivity and celebration of unity.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday that brings families and friends together to express gratitude and enjoy a bountiful feast. However, many are unaware of the historical significance behind its establishment as a national holiday. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving. This article delves into the story behind President Lincoln's proclamation and the journey of Thanksgiving becoming a nationally recognized holiday.

While we usually celebrate pilgrims and Indigenous people at Thanksgiving, we owe the establishment of this holiday to President Abraham Lincoln. It turns out that for a Thanksgiving that's not too late and not too early, the fourth Thursday is key. President Lincoln's proclamation aimed to set a specific date for the celebration, ensuring consistency and unity across the nation.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt played a significant role in solidifying Thanksgiving as a national holiday. In 1941, he signed a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Roosevelt recognized the importance of this holiday to reunite a divided country during challenging times, using it as a symbol of unity and gratitude.

The day after Thanksgiving Day has come to be known as "Black Friday," marking the unofficial first day of holiday shopping in the U.S. However, the origins of Thanksgiving as a national holiday lie much deeper. To understand its establishment, we must delve into the decrees made by Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.

In late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln unwittingly launched what would soon become a cherished American tradition. Inspired by accounts of the Pilgrims' first harvest celebration, Lincoln saw an opportunity to foster unity and gratitude during the turmoil of the Civil War. His proclamation set the foundation for Thanksgiving as a national holiday, encouraging Americans to reflect on their blessings and come together as a nation.

The tradition of setting aside days of thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting in response to significant events dates back to the settlement of the colonies. As American settlers faced challenging times, they turned to gratitude and unity as a means of finding solace and hope. Thanksgiving evolved from these early practices, ultimately becoming a national holiday thanks to President Lincoln's proclamation.

President George Washington also played a crucial role in recognizing the importance of a national day of thanksgiving. In 1789, he issued a proclamation calling for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. However, it was President Lincoln's proclamation that solidified the last Thursday of November as the official date for Thanksgiving.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving's journey to becoming a national holiday was shaped by the proclamations and actions of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Their efforts aimed to foster unity, gratitude, and a sense of national togetherness. Today, as we gather with loved ones around a table filled with delicious food, let us remember the historical significance of Thanksgiving and the values it represents.

president abraham lincolnthanksgivingnational holidayproclamationlast thursday of novemberhistory-making feastpresident franklin d. rooseveltblack fridayamerican traditionsettlement of coloniessignificant eventsunitygratitudeharvest celebrationpresident george washington

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