Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn November 26, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Eighty-six years earlier, on November 26, 1777, General George Washington declared a Thanksgiving feast to celebrate victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga, New York, during the Revolutionary War. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November.Thanksgiving is often associated with a feast the “Pilgrims” at Plimouth Plantation, Massachusetts, shared with their Wampanoag neighbors in 1621. In fact, similar feasts of thanksgiving actually date as far back as the first Christian explorers in North America. Spanish conquistadores celebrated days of thanksgiving as early as 1541 in what is today Texas. French settlers in what is today Florida celebrated in 1564. One of the first thanksgivings celebrated between English settlers and Native Americans (the Abnaki) happened on the banks of the Kennebec River in what is today Maine, in 1607.Nearly 250 years later, Lincoln’s proclamation, actually written by Secretary of State William Seward, hoped for divine intervention in the ongoing Civil War, “to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry associate Verb
a slope of land adjoining a body of water, or a large elevated area of the sea floor.
to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.
Civil War Noun
(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).
Spanish explorer or conqueror of Latin America in the 16th century.
maintaining a steady, reliable quality.
to state clearly, in formal terms.
foods eaten by a specific group of people or other organisms.
Encyclopedic Entry: diet divine Adjective
having to do with a god.
person who studies unknown areas.
to eat large amounts of food, usually to celebrate or honor something.
period of celebration or honor.
to plead or beg.
to mediate or modify the outcome of an event.
Native American Noun
person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.
to live or be situated next to.
early settler of Plimouth Colony, Massachusetts.
to renew or bring back to an earlier position or state of health.
Revolutionary War Noun
(1775-1783) conflict between Great Britain and the colonies that became the United States. Also called the American War of Independence.
fish and shellfish consumed by humans.
person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.
peaceful and calm.
having to do with states supporting the United States (north) during the U.S. Civil War.
meat of a deer, eaten as food.
success or triumph.
people and culture native to what are now the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
injury usually resulting in the breaking of skin.