How Progressives Changed Thanksgiving

Much of what we know about the first Thanksgiving comes from a letter written by Edward Winslow in 1621. The letter, lost for nearly 200 years, was discovered by Boston publisher Alexander Young and later published in 1841.

The first Thanksgiving, according to the account, was primarily a day of fasting to remember and thank God.

While George Washington held a Thanksgiving as president, it was Abraham Lincoln that made it a national holiday.

Right after the battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an annual day of remembrance to be observed the fourth Thursday of every November. From 1863 to 1939, Thanksgiving took place on the fourth Thursday, allowing people to stop and to give thanks to God.

As Glenn outlined on radio, the tie between Thanksgiving and God slowly unraveled during the Progressive Era.

In an official statement issued by Theodore Roosevelt, a subtle change in wording and tradition began the unraveling.

"I, Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving, Thursday the 28th, this present November, and I recommend that throughout the land, people cease from their wanted occupations."

"Notice the date was still the same [the fourth Thursday of November], but this is the first time the president said we should take the day off," Glenn explained. "This was unusual because up until the Progressive Era, we thought it was abhorrent to take even Christmas off. ...In fact, the Pilgrims and our Founders thought it would be crass to take the day off and make it not a day of work for either holiday, either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We worked on Christmas. But it was the progressives that wanted us to cease from occupations."

Roosevelt's statement went on to "thank the giver of all good for the countless blessings in our national life." Glenn pointed out the subtle --- but important --- choice of words. The president used the word "national" rather than "individual."

Woodrow Wilson issued a similar statement, urging citizens to take the day off.

"I, Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States, 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."

At the beginning of the Depression in 1931, Herbert Hoover followed suit.

"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 have bestowed on all of us."

Again, while most people wanted to work, a progressive president told them to stay home and rest.

The most dramatic change happened in 1939 under Franklin Roosevelt.

"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," explained Glenn. "So the only reason why we changed from the fourth Thursday to the third, was because in the third term of FDR, he officially disconnected it from God and connected it to the God of America, the almighty dollar."

The decision was not well received.

A Gallup poll at the time showed 59 percent of Americans disapproved of the date change. Twenty-two states decided to go along with Roosevelt's plan. Twenty-three decided to stick with the old date, affirming Thanksgiving should be about thanking God, not shopping. Both dates were recognized by the press, the latter referred to as the Republican Thanksgiving because it was connected to God, the founding and Abraham Lincoln.

In 1941, the Wall Street Journal looked at a large pool of data and declared the move a bust. It provided no real boost to retail sales. Unfortunately, what it did do was further separate the American people and society from God.

Just two years later, Roosevelt reversed his controversial decision, moving Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday in November.

Watch a segment from the program below:

On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.