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Briefcase: Thanksgiving

How did the Presidents and Congress shape the holiday of Thanksgiving?


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In honor of this week's Thanksgiving holiday, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center explained how Presidents and Congress have had a hand in shaping the holiday.

"From its origin as a celebration of the harvest, the United States has had many observances of giving thanks. But Thanksgiving was not permanently made a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation in 1863. Even though the nation was in the midst of The Civil War, President Lincoln observed that there were many things for which to be thankful."

"An Act of Congress cemented the official date to celebrate Thanksgiving in 1941. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the resolution moving it to the fourth Thursday in November. Since then the holiday has been a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy themselves with a great meal, to start the holiday shopping season, and to watch football games. While enjoying this holiday, let's all reflect on its underpinnings and pause to give thanks."