In today’s Thanksgiving episode, we delve into the history behind this beloved holiday. Join Cynthia as she explores the origins of Thanksgiving, the remarkable story of Sarah Joseph Hale, and how she played a pivotal role in making it a national holiday.
Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621. For many years, various parts of the country celebrated Thanksgiving while others didn’t.
George Washington Issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 as did John Adams and James Madison. Thomas Jefferson, however, believed such that a violation of church and state.
Sarah Josepha Hale believed Thanksgiving should be a national holiday
Sarah was born in New Hampshire in 1788 and married David Hale in 1813. However, her husband died in 1822, and she had work to support her family. She chose to write, and her most famous work is Mary Had a Little Lamb. Her writing caught the attention of a lady’s magazine and they invited her to serve as editor.
Louis A Godey hired Sarah as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1837.
The magazine became the most influential and widely read magazine at the time. Sarah didn’t agree with feminists of the day but she steered the magazine away from politics and social issues. Instead, she encouraged women’s education while hiring original writers.
Her family had celebrated Thanksgiving every year as she grew up, and she saw the value in being thankful. Sarah often wrote articles encouraging a national day of Thanksgiving.
At the time, slavery split the nation. Sarah believed a national day of Thanksgiving could unite the shattered nation. She frequently wrote Lincoln and requested him to establish a regular holiday.
When the Union won the battle of Fort Donelson and Shiloh in 1862, Lincoln wrote a Thanksgiving proclamation. After the battle of Gettysburg, her wrote another one. Sarah appealed to him again for a national holiday, and he asked his staff to draft the appropriate documents. He set the Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November.
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