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What Did Americans Do at the First Thanksgiving? Argue About It.

Added 11-25-21 06:25:02am EST - “Thanksgiving might seem like a fairly uncontroversial national holiday. That wasn't the case in Abraham Lincoln's day.” - Politico.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Politico.com: “What Did Americans Do at the First Thanksgiving? Argue About It.”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Thanksgiving might seem like a fairly uncontroversial national holiday. That wasn't the case in Abraham Lincoln's day.

An illustration called “Thanksgiving, an inspiration peculiar to the nation,” printed in the St. Paul Globe newspaper in 1903. | Library of Congress

Joshua Zeitz, a Politico Magazine contributing editor, is a historian and the author of several books, including Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image. Follow him @joshuamzeitz.

In late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln unwittingly launched what would soon become a cherished American tradition.

A well-wisher had sent a turkey to the White House for the first family’s holiday meal. When Lincoln’s son, Tad, begged his father to spare the bird’s life, the president — ever an indulgent parent — pulled out a piece of paper and wrote out a presidential pardon. Thus was a venerable presidential practice born.

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