Thanksgiving: Washington started it, Lincoln cemented it and FDR commercialized it

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What does the nursey rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb" have to do with the Battle of Gettysburg and Black Friday? All three are directly related to the history of Thanksgiving.

Many people assume that Thanksgiving has remained the same since that first meeting between the Wampanoag Native American tribe and the Pilgrims. It hasn't. The truth is, if not for a few incredibly important events, we would not celebrate one of the most American holidays at all.

George Washington was the first President to have an official Thanksgiving, as approved by Congress in 1777, but it was not yet the annual celebration that we know it as today. In 1789, Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving in celebration of the newly formed United States.

RELATED: George Washington Throws Traditional Thanksgiving for a Loop

John Adams followed the tradition.

But Thomas Jefferson, as third President, felt that Thanksgiving violated the separation of church and state. Presidents upheld this view until 1863, the third year of the Civil War. The same year as the Battle of Gettysburg. The year that more than 100,000 soldiers died in the fight between the North and the South.

In part we can thank novelist and poet Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote "Mary had a Little Lamb" for making Thanksgiving the holiday that it is. For twenty years, Hale maintained a letter-writing campaign to have Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday. She wrote letters to 5 presidents and many more governors. Nobody responded.

Then came April 12, 1861, the beginning of the Civil War. Hale saw the need for a national day of thanksgiving as more important than ever before. She believed that it could bring our divided country back together.

A couple years later, one of Sarah Hale's letters landed on President Lincoln's desk. Days later, on October 3, 1863, in honor of the Union's victory at Gettysburg, Lincoln declared that the final Thursday of November be observed indefinitely as a national holiday of Thanksgiving.

In this 1863 proclamation, Lincoln called on Americans "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 Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

The proclamation was also published several weeks later in Harper's Weekly on October 17, 1863.

Harold Holzer, historian and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation describes Lincoln as "the father of the whole idea of a nation giving thanks for its advantages and privileges of living in a democracy like this," he said.

The proclamation offers a number of reasons to be thankful:

The civil war that so recently closed among us has not been anywhere reopened; foreign intervention has ceased to excite alarm or apprehension; intrusive pestilence has been benignly mitigated; domestic tranquility has improved, sentiments of conciliation have largely prevailed, and affections of loyalty and patriotism have been widely renewed; our fields have yielded quite abundantly, our mining industry has been richly rewarded, and we have been allowed to extend our railroad system far into the interior recesses of the country, while our commerce has resumed its customary activity in foreign seas. These great national blessings demand a national acknowledgment.

Following Lincoln's proclamation, Thanksgiving was still by no means the reliable holiday that we know it as today. It had no permanent fixed date, and it was often up to state governors whether or not any given state would celebrate the holiday.

During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November, in order to encourage shopping the following day—in other words, FDR created Black Friday.

Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November, in order to encourage shopping the following day—in other words, FDR created Black Friday.

It wasn't until 1942, however, that Congress passed a law that made Thanksgiving an official holiday nationwide, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving has itself undergone a uniquely American struggle, and, in doing so, revealed its own distinctly American spirit. We are lucky that it has outlasted those struggles, and it is important to be thankful for the very holiday that designates a day for gratitude, a day of thanksgiving.

Acclaimed environmentalist and author of "Apocalypse Never" Michael Shellenberger joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to warn us about the true goals and effects of climate alarmism: It's become a "secular religion" that lowers standards of living in developed countries, holds developing countries back, and has environmental progress "exactly wrong."

Michael is a Time "Hero of the Environment," Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He has been called a "environmental guru," "climate guru," "North America's leading public intellectual on clean energy," and "high priest" of the environmental humanist movement for his writings and TED talks, which have been viewed more than 5 million times. But when Michael penned a stunning article in Forbes saying, "On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize for the Climate Scare", the article was pulled just a few hours later. (Read more here.)

On the show, Micheal talked about how environmental alarmism has overtaken scientific fact, leading to a number of unfortunate consequences. He said one of the problems is that rich nations are blocking poor nations from being able to industrialize. Instead, they are seeking to make poverty sustainable, rather than to make poverty history.

"As a cultural anthropologist, I've been traveling to poorer countries and interviewing small farmers for over 30 years. And, obviously there are a lot of causes why countries are poor, but there's no reason we should be helping them to stay poor," Michael said. "A few years ago, there was a movement to make poverty history ... [but] it got taken over by the climate alarmist movement, which has been focused on depriving poor countries, not just of fossil fuels they need to develop, but also the large hydroelectric dams."

He offered the example of the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Congo has been denied the resources needed to build large hydroelectric dams, which are absolutely essential to pull people out of poverty. And one of the main groups preventing poor countries from the gaining financing they need to to build dams is based in Berkeley, California — a city that gets its electricity from hydroelectric dams.

"It's just unconscionable ... there are major groups, including the Sierra Club, that support efforts to deprive poor countries of energy. And, honestly, they've taken over the World Bank [which] used to fund the basics of development: roads, electricity, sewage systems, flood control, dams," Micheal said.

"Environmentalism, apocalyptic environmentalism in particular, has become the dominant religion of supposedly secular people in the West. So, you know, it's people at the United Nations. It's people that are in very powerful positions who are trying to impose 'nature's order' on societies," he continued. "And, of course, the problem is that nobody can figure out what nature is, and what it's not. That's not a particular good basis for organizing your economy."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Dr. Voddie Baucham, Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to explain why he agrees with Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

Baucham, who recently drew national attention when his sermon titled "Ethnic Gnosticism" resurfaced online, said the phrase has been trademarked by a dangerous, violent, Marxist movement that doesn't care about black lives except to use them as political pawns.

"We have to separate this movement from the issues," Baucham warned. "I know that [Black Lives Matter] is a phrase that is part of an organization. It is a trademark phrase. And it's a phrase designed to use black people.

"That phrase dehumanizes black people, because it makes them pawns in a game that has nothing whatsoever to do with black people and their dignity. And has everything to do with a divisive agenda that is bigger than black people. That's why I'm not going to use that phrase, because I love black people. I love being black."

Baucham warned that Black Lives Matter -- a radical Marxist movement -- is using black people and communities to push a dangerous and divisive narrative. He encouraged Americans to educate themselves on the organization's agenda and belief statement.

"This movement is dangerous. This movement is vicious. And this movement uses black people," he emphasized. "And so if I'm really concerned about issues in the black community -- and I am -- then I have to refuse, and I have to repudiate that organization. Because they stand against that for which I am advocating."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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We're going to be doing an amazing broadcast on Thursday, July 2nd, and we will be broadcasting a really important moment. It is restoring truth. It is restoring our history. It is asking to you make a covenant with God. The covenant that was made by the Pilgrims. And it's giving you a road map of things that we can do, to be able to come back home, together.

All of us.

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On last week's Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck revealed where the Black Lives Matter organization really gets its funding, and the dark money trail leading to a cast of familiar characters. Shortly after the program aired, one of BLM's fiscal sponsors, Thousand Currents, took down its board of directors page, which featured one of these shady characters:

Ex-Marxist professor and author of "Beyond Woke," Michael Rectenwald, joined Glenn Beck on the TV show to fill us in on the suspicious change he discovered on the Thousand Currents webpage and the Communist terrorists who is now helping run the organization. (Fortunately, the internet is forever, so it is still possible to view the board of directors page by looking at a web archive from the WayBack Machine.)

Rectenwald revealed the shocking life history of Thousand Currents' vice chair of the board, Susan Rosenberg, who spent 16 years in federal prison for her part in a series of increasingly violent acts of terrorism, including bombing the U.S. Capitol building, bombing an FBI building, and targeting police for assassination.

"Their whole campaign was one of unbelievably vicious, murderous cop killings, assassinations, and bombings," explained Rectenwald of Rosenberg's terror group known as the May 19th Communist Organization or M19.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


Glenn's full investigation into the dark origins of the funding behind Black Lives Matter is available for BlazeTV subscribers. Not a subscriber? Use promo code GLENN to get $10 off your BlazeTV subscription or start your 30-day free trial today.

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