Though the entire country awaits to celebrate the day of gratitude, there was a president who refused to acknowledge Thanksgiving. He had his own reason to not proclaim Thanksgiving. President Thomas Jefferson was the only president who refused to acknowledge Thanksgiving and did not celebrate the holiday. Find everything about Thomas Jefferson and Thanksgiving here.
Why Did Jefferson Oppose Thanksgiving?
He didn’t oppose Thanksgiving. He was against the government proclamations of Thanksgiving.
Which President Canceled Thanksgiving?
- A. Thomas Jefferson
- B. John F. Kennedy
- C. Calvin Coolidge
- D. William McKinley
Thanksgiving days were more prayerful events to praise God for military or political achievements. Jefferson was a dedicated and strong supporter of the severance of state and church.
He wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut in which he talked about the First Amendment, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;’ thus building a wall of eternal separation between Church & State.” He added further why he should proclaim Thanksgivings and fastings.
Thomas Jefferson and Thanksgiving
During Thanksgiving, in the United States, people come together and count their blessings, prepare a feast, and offer thanks to family and friends. In recent years, Thanksgiving is all about turkey, pie, and feats. In the past, it was about fasting, offering prayer, and solemn religious ceremonies. Thomas Jefferson refused to endorse the tradition. Ever since Jefferson refused to celebrate the day in 1801, rumors have circulated that the third president disliked the event. For Jefferson, celebrating Thanksgiving means he was supporting state-sponsored religion that he didn’t want. His hatred towards church and state helped him to acquire the title of America’s only anti-Thanksgiving president.
During his presidency, Thanksgiving wasn’t proclaimed as a national holiday. The formal observance of Thanksgiving started in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday in response to the dread of the Civil War. During that time, the tradition of offering thanks as a nation took place in 1777. Congress announced a national day of Thanksgiving after America’s victory at the Battle of Saratoga. Ever since, presidents should announce periodic days of fasting, expressing gratitude, and prayer. After Jefferson became president, he stopped declaring Thanksgiving as a holiday. Later, George Washington and John Adams strongly supported the holiday in 1802.
What Did Thomas Jefferson Do as President?
He was the third president of the United States. He contributed to stabilizing the US economy, eliminating pirates from North Africa in the Barbary War. He served for doubling the size of the United States as he succeeded in winning the Louisiana Purchase. He was the one who established the University of Virginia.