HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Everyone at Dvorak Uncensored.

Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln — I’m always amused by the cock and bull story about Thanksgiving being about Pilgrims, maize, turkeys and Indians when the holiday stems from an Abe Lincoln proclamation at the behest of magazine editor. The road to today’s Thanksgiving has had a rocky road, in fact.

I’m not sure when the baloney about Pilgrims and Indians actually took hold as folklore, but I find it offensive that it is taught in schools as fact..

That said, who is complaining about days off? And I do like a good turrkey and gladly spend the extra money for a real old-fashioned bird with real flavor. A great turkey actually tastes more like pheasant and does not have that exaggerated turkey flavor you get from commercial birds. I’m convinced that the only reason that people are deep fat frying these birds nowadays is to minimize that obnoxious taste only recently bred into the birds.

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

The holiday we know today as Thanksgiving was recommended to Lincoln by Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor. Her letters to Lincoln urged him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

According to an April 1, 1864 letter from John Nicolay, one of Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. Fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary on October 3 that he complimented Seward on his work. A year later, the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops and since then has disappeared.

Oh, and I apparently bitched about this last year with a snarky, but well-rearched piece on the various iterations of Thanksgiving.



  1. kzoodata says:

    Well, it’s not *entirely* cock-and-bull. Quipped from a man who had more than one English Diners Club card.

    The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving
    By Benjamin Franklin (1785)

    “There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civiliz’d people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously dispos’d, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many dispos’d to return to the Egypt which persecution had induc’d them to abandon.

    “At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remark’d that the inconveniences they suffer’d, and concerning which they had so often weary’d heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthen’d; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.

    “He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they ow’d to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observ’d circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.”

    copped from http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=10447

    I give the honors to the official Thanksgiving to both Lincoln and FDR, who gave it two days, to create a national Christmas shopping day, to boost the depressed economy.

  2. Michael Cuthbnertson says:

    John:
    How about giving us poor benighted supermarket-turkey eaters the lowdown on the “old-fashioned” bird you like?

  3. Mike Voice says:

    I was reading Lincoln’s speech this morning, in my local paper, and couldn’t help grinning about how it would “play” today, amidst the current “separation of church and state” arguments.

    Can’t you just imagine the furor if Dubya were to give such a speech? 🙂

  4. Eideard says:

    1. Don’t know where John gets his turkey — and which variation on the theme — but, we had a free range critter from a ranch up in Colorado that specialized in heritage birds. I just had to be a bit more careful because even the dark meat is a little less fat than the supermarket variety. Got it, here in NM through Whole Foods chain.

    2. MV — nice to see we agree that Dubya is speaking to a 19th Century mindset.

  5. site admin says:

    MV, that speech was appropriate for its time — almost 150 years ago! If anyone gave that speech (or any other of that era) today, they’d be seen as lunatics. Unless they were in Kansas, of course.

  6. maria mulford says:

    presidential lies. somebody lied and turkeys died.

  7. Mike Voice says:

    2. MV — nice to see we agree that Dubya is speaking to a 19th Century mindset.

    Yes, I just know he would like to give that kind of speech – and that his ‘base” would love to hear him give it. 🙁

    But, could Dubya be that eloquent without a box strapped to his back?

  8. bob says:

    you are extremely write. My history teacher won’t even use the textbooks becouse they are so off on more than just this subject.


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