FDR transformed a lot of things while in office - most of them not very good. For starters, he ushered in social security, raised taxes to 94% and tried to regulate the price of food by slaughtering pigs. So what did he do to alter Thanksgiving Day forever? Glenn explained on radio today.
"We were talking at the beginning of the hour about Thanksgiving and where Thanksgiving came from and how it happened, and the first Thanksgiving was actually more of a fast than anything else because the only account we have is from a guy named Edward Winslow in 1621, and the letter was lost almost 200 years and rediscovered in the 1800s by a Boston publisher, Alexander Young. And he published it in 1841. Few years later, right after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln decided that he needed to have another Thanksgiving. Washington had one. He declared one day of Thanksgiving, but Lincoln said 'We have to have one every year,' and it was the fourth year of Thanksgiving. Remember that. The fourth -- I'm sorry. The fourth week of November was Thanksgiving, the last Thursday. But that's not what it is. It's usually last week. This is a very late Thanksgiving. So how did that happen?
Well, in comes the progressive era: I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general Thanksgiving Thursday, the 28th of this present November, and I recommend that throughout the land people cease from their wanted occupations. This is the first time -- notice the date is still the same, but this is the first time that a president says we should take the day off. This is unusual because up until the progressive era, we thought it was abhorrent to take Christmas off. In fact, Scrooge was actually not unusual. Scrooge was the norm. Most people worked. In fact, the pilgrims and our founders thought it would be crass to take the day off and make it a day not of work for either holiday, either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We worked on Christmas. But the progressives wanted to cease from occupations.
Several of homes and places of worship we should reverently thank the giver of all good for the countless blessings in our national life. You'll notice it's our national life now. Woodrow Wilson did the same thing: I, Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States of America do hereby designate Thursday, the 27th of November as a day of Thanksgiving and prayer and invite the people throughout the land to cease from their wanted occupations.
Now we're at the go at the beginning of the depression, 1931. Things are bad. Herbert Hoover: I therefore, Herbert Hoover, president of the United States, do hereby designate Thursday, November 26th as the national day of Thanksgiving and recommend that our people rest from their daily labors and in their homes and accustomed places of worship give devout thanks for the blessings which a merciful father had bestowed upon us." While most people wanted to work, he's saying rest from your labor.
But here comes the big change in 1939. FDR. It was always the -- it was always the fourth Thursday of November that was the annual day of Thanksgiving. From 1863 to 1939, it was the fourth Thursday of November. Why did it change in 1939? Well, as all good progressives know, as all good lefties know -- because after all, the left is the one that hates business. The Democrats are the ones who hate commercialism. The Democrats are the ones who absolutely despise the fact that big business rules the world.
At the tail end of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt, hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct their business between Thanksgiving and Christmas, moved Thanksgiving to November's third Thursday. So the only reason why we changed the position of Thanksgiving is because we officially, in FDR's term, third term, officially disconnected it from God and connected it to shopping. A Gallup poll at the time showed 59% of Americans disapproved of the date change. 22 states decided to go along with Roosevelt's plan. 23 said, no, the old date; we should not be connecting this with shopping. We should be connecting this with the Lord.
In the press November 30th was referred to as the Republican Thanksgiving because it was connected to God and connected to the founding and connected to Abraham Lincoln. But the 23rd, the one that we still celebrate today, was known as the democratic Thanksgiving, or as the Atlantic City mayor Thomas Taggart dubbed it, he said it was Franksgiving, after FDR.
In 1941 the Wall Street Journal took a whole bunch of data and declared that the move was a bust. It provided no real boost to retail sales. But that's because most of America still had a problem with shopping on Thanksgiving because that's not what it was about."