Thanksgiving, brought to you by New Hampshire

Thanksgiving is a very appropriate holiday to have, given the times we are in. People are so quick these days to assume malicious intent, when more often we are just misunderstanding each other. It was thought that a reflective day of giving thanks would be a calming, unifying day after the Civil War. It was a New Hampshire citizen who pushed for the Thanksgiving holiday.Fall-Cornucopia-550

Newport’s own Sarah Josepha Hale made Thanksgiving our third national holiday national holiday in the United States. Thanksgiving had been celebrated in New England, but not elsewhere. Each state scheduled its own holiday, some as early as October and others as late as January. It was largely unknown in the South. Her advocacy for the national holiday began in 1846 and lasted 17 years before it was successful. In support of the proposed national holiday, Hale wrote letters to five Presidents of the United States: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. Her initial letters failed to persuade, but the letter that she wrote to Lincoln convinced him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving in 1863. The new national holiday was considered a unifying day after the stress of the American Civil War. Before Thanksgiving’s addition, the only national holidays celebrated in the United States were Washington’s Birthday and Independence Day.

So today, give thanks, give someone the benefit of the doubt, and maybe mend a fence.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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