Lincoln's proclamation made Thanksgiving official

This year marks 160th anniversary of official, lasting declaration


November 22, 2023

by Tom Emery

The first Thanksgiving is often associated with the Pilgrims. But President Lincoln was the first to make it official.

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the official designation of Thanksgiving. Lincoln’s declaration in 1863 is the most lasting of the nine proclamations for a day of thanks issued during his presidency.

The idea of a thanksgiving was nothing new. On Oct. 3, 1789, George Washington had issued a proclamation for a day of thanksgiving, scheduled for Nov. 26 of that year. It had been celebrated on various days throughout the nation, as many states had thei...

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