Abraham Lincoln Sets a Thanksgiving Day Precedent
President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863, reportedly at the behest of magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale.
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy," stated the proclamation in part.
"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
While proclamations had been issued before this one, Lincoln is credited with setting the precedent of late November being the date for a national thanksgiving observance.