Did George Washington Make Thanksgiving A National Holiday?
Actually, George Washington was not the United States President who made Thanksgiving a national holiday.
In 1789, after the victory in the Revolutionary War, Washington issued a presidential proclamation for the Thanksgiving celebration due to the request of the US Congress.
However, in that document, he didn’t declare it a national holiday.
In that proclamation, George Washington only defined Thanksgiving as a day of fasting and prayer in the name of the almighty god.
Here, he urged the people of the United States to celebrate the event thanking the role of providence (God) for providing them the opportunity to live in a free democratic nation.
[Did You Know? After Washington & John Adams, Thomas Jefferson Became The US President. As A President Jefferson Refused To Recognize Thanksgiving. He Believed, Federal Government Recognition To The Festival Would Negatively Influence The Secular American Democracy]
If Washington Not, Then Who Declared Thanksgiving A National Holiday?
It was the United States 16th President Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.
After he declared it, the festival became the third national holiday in the country after Washington’s Birthday and Independence Day.
But the question is why Abe took the initiative that his predecessor Presidents didn’t?
It is said that Lincoln had to do it to cool down the situation of the ongoing Civil War.
The American Civil War killed and wounded more than one and a half million people.
Along with that, the President was losing his good image among Americans and therefore, somehow he wanted to revive it again.
On October 3rd, 1863 via a presidential proclamation, Lincoln declared to celebrate the fourth Thursday of November 1863 as a national holiday for Thanksgiving.
[Did You Know? Sarah Josepha Hale Was The Person Who Convinced Abraham Lincoln To Take The Initiative. Before Getting The Success, She Tried More Than 17 Times To Convince Different US Presidents. Sarah Hale Was A Writer, Who Also Composed The Famous Nursery Rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb”]