Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She wrote, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."
The original proclamation, written by William Seward (also know for the purchase of Alaska), was sold to benefit Union Troops:
According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President
Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William
Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow
Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward
on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.
So tomorrow, as we gorge ourselves on turkey and football, remember our past, our troops, and our hope for the future of our great nation.
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