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View Diary: US to 1865: What's Bugging Me -- The Puritans and the Puritans who settled Massachusetts, 1620-1630 (201 comments)

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  •  First national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed (1+ / 0-)
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    GrumpyOldGeek

    in 1789 by George Washington:

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/...

    It was enthusiastically embraced -- by America's small Jewish community. In fact the very first Thanksgiving Day Sermon ever published was by the leader of the New York Jewish community, Gershom Mendes Seixas:

    http://www.scribd.com/...

    Remember that when people claim that Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday or that the United States is a Christian country.

    •  Proclaimed but complained (1+ / 0-)
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      Dave in Northridge

      Generally, Days of Thanksgiving were established by each governor. The 1789 proclamation was carefully worded as a suggestion, not a national proclamation. The Articles of Confederation was still the law of the land in 1789, so states' rights was a touchy subject at that time.

      IIRC, the selected date was a Thursday sometime in between late October and early December. It wasn't unusual that 3 or 4 different Days of Thanksgiving were proclaimed. Governors were petty rivals and not thrilled about sharing power with a federal government. Not much has changed since then.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 02:26:04 PM PST

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      •  Not true. (1+ / 0-)
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        GrumpyOldGeek

        The Constitution's ratification took effect in 1788. George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, and issued the proclamation later that year.

        •  I keep forgetting I have a poor memory (1+ / 0-)
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          Dave in Northridge

          I was thinking about the Bill of Rights and the significance of the 1st Amendment. So many things were happening during those times.

          The individual governors still proclaimed different dates for Thanksgiving before and after Washington's inauguration.

          About a year ago, I read through the entire diary of the Rev. Thomas Robbins who wrote an entry every day from 1796 to 1854.

          His diary is an historical treasure. Search for "Thanksgiving" to get an idea of how Thanksgiving fit into the daily life of a travelling minister.

          I was particulary drawn to his notes about the events and politics throughout the period. His concern about the inexperience and youth of the newly elected federal officials, including the president, is a surprise. He was concerned about electing an atheist president. He paid attention to the famous letters exchanged between Jefferson and the Baptist Society that contained the words about the "separation of church and state". Coincidentally, one of the authors of the letter sent to Jefferson was a Deacon Robbins, apparently not a relative of Thomas Robbins.

          I got sucked into his entries for 1816, the "Year Without Summer".

          In November, 1796, his entries indicate that Thanksgiving was celebrated on two different days. A footnote describes the custom:

          The old Thanksgivings in New England did not fall on fixed days as now but from October to January though usually November or December
          I was initially drawn to his diary while researching the first elephants that were imported into the Americas. He describes two encounters with the very first elephant to arrive in the US.

          My family history includes a tragic encounter with one of the first elephants in the US, Horatio the Elephant, the subject of my first Daily Kos diary. Subsequent research shows that Horatio was actually the fifth elephant in the US, not the third as I had speculated back in 2010.

          This will be expanded and will be the subject of a followup diary for the Genealogy and Family History Community group.

          "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 12:23:56 AM PST

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