The Cause and Custom of the American Thanksgiving, Part 4

Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation

The humble, grateful spirit attendant to those celebrations was expressed in such statements as this by Theodore Roosevelt:

No people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with the gratitude to the Giver of good who has blessed us.”

shoppers-look-over-items-on-sale-at-a-macys-store-in-new-york-november-23-2012-black-friday-the-day-following-the-thanksgiving-day-holiday-has-traditionally-been-the-busiest-shopping-day-in-the-united-statesHowever, in 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day up one week earlier than had been tradition, to appease merchants who wanted more time to feed the growing pre-Christmas consumer frenzy. Folding to congressional pressure two years later, Roosevelt signed a resolution returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November, as Congress in 1941 permanently set the fourth Thursday of each November as our national day of Thanksgiving.

13212055Roosevelt’s inclination to subsume Thanksgiving for commercial interests foretold much of the secular inversion of “thanksgiving” to come. In autumns we now exist amid…

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