Which President Refused To Celebrate Thanksgiving As A National Holiday?
It was President Thomas Jefferson who refused to celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Even in 1801, he refused to declare a proclamation for issuing a holiday for the special day.
However, Thomas Jefferson showed a strong reason for not supporting Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
Jefferson believed, that the newborn United States was a secular democratic country and therefore he wanted the existence of a strong wall of separation between the Christian Church and the State.
According to Jefferson, Thanksgiving was a Puritan religious tradition and if he declares it a national holiday, it would have meant sponsoring a specific religious belief. And that would be against the newly formed American democracy.
[Did You Know? Thomas Jefferson Was One of The Main Founding Fathers of The United States. He Was The Person Who Wrote The Historic Declaration of Independence]
Did It Mean That Jefferson Was An Atheist?
Thomas Jefferson was a deist but he was not an Atheist.
He hold liberal religious ideologies.
However, in 1779, as a governor of Virginia, he declared Thanksgiving as a day of prayer.
Later, when he was asked about that he explained that he was willing to do it as a governor but not as a president; on top of that, back then, the 13 colonies were still under British rule.
For Jefferson, declaring Thanksgiving is the responsibility of states but not of America’s federal government.
Did Thomas Jefferson Face Any Problems For Not Supporting Thanksgiving?
Yes, for not declaring Thanksgiving as a national holiday, opposition political groups started attacking him.
Especially, Federalists were trying to spread the propaganda that Jefferson was an atheist and he was trying to make the United States an atheist country.
[Did You Know? In The United States, Officially Thanksgiving Was First Observed In 1789. At That Time, For The Request of Congress, The US First President George Washington Declared Thanksgiving With A Proclamation]