The first Thanksgiving was observed the fall of 1621. Governor Bradford decreed there should be a day of thanks to celebrate harvest.(1)

During colonial days thanksgiving was celebrated after the fall harvest however there was no uniform observance until October 1777. In 1789 George Washington became the first president to declare a Thanksgiving holiday.(2)

Journalist Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for a national observance of Thanksgiving for about forty years. In 1863 in an effort to unite the country President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.(3)

In effort to increase the Christmas shopping season President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November from 1939-1941. Due to public outcry congress passed joint resolution returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November. (4)


  1. Damon Goldsmith, Thanksgiving History, [available on-line last accessed 17 November 2007. ]
  2. Ibid.
  3. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story, [available on-line, last accessed 17 November 2007.]
  4. Ibid.

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