The holiday we celebrate the fourth Thursday each November wasn’t always an eleventh-month event.
The observance date varied from the time the United States became a nation to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.
Before Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation setting a date, Thanksgiving Day varied from state to state with many settling on the last Thursday of November. Following Lincoln’s lead, presidents—and governors—after him issued proclamations each year to set the date.
It wasn’t until President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress that officially set Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday of November.
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