How George Washington Angered Lawmakers Over Thanksgiving
In September 1789, the government of the United States was only a few months old. George Washington was president – the nation's first. Congress was new, too. Some of the early lawmakers came to the president with a question: Would he call for a national Thanksgiving?
One aim was to help unify the young country, which was made of the 13 former colonies. Calling a national Thanksgiving would be a way to bring Americans together.
But other lawmakers strongly objected to the idea. Critics had two main concerns.
First, some saw Thanksgiving as a religious holiday. They noted the president could not use the power of the federal government to urge Americans to follow -- or not follow -- a religious tradition.
Second, opponents of the measure believed the president did not have the right to call a national Thanksgiving. That power belonged to the leader of each state, they said.
In the end, Washington did formally call for a national Thanksgiving. It was the country's first presidential proclamation. In it, he called for a national "day of public thanksgiving and prayer."
He also tried to satisfy opponents of the idea.
Melanie Kirkpatrick is the writer of "Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience." She explains that Washington sent copies of his proclamation to the leader of each of the 13 states. He asked them to call a national Thanksgiving on the day he had chosen.
The president was very well respected, Kirkpatrick notes. And so the state leaders all agreed.
In the years that followed, some presidents issued their own proclamations for a day of thanksgiving; many others did not.
Finally, in 1941, lawmakers in Congress made the fourth Thursday in November a legal holiday.
This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will gather to eat a meal and express their thanks. Their gatherings may echo George Washington's first Thanksgiving proclamation. In it, the first president made a point of declaring that people of all religions should celebrate Thanksgiving.
That idea is still important. Almost everyone in the country, including immigrants, observes the holiday in some way.
Kirkpatrick says that for new Americans, the day can be a rite of passage. In her words, "The idea is that once you celebrate Thanksgiving, you know you are truly participating in a national festival that cements your position as an American."
I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.
1.call for 呼吁；要求
The ceasefire resolution calls for the release of all prisoners of war.
2.national festival 全国节日
In 1880 the deputies argued passionately about which date to pick for the “national festival”.
3.legal holiday 法定假日
Independence Day is one of America's principal legal holiday.
4.belonged to 属于
I realized that he and I belonged to different worlds.
5.In it, the first president made a point of declaring that people of all religions should celebrate Thanksgiving.
made a point of 重视
She made a point of spending as much time as possible away from Osborne House.
James made a point of shaking everyone's hand.
6.In the end, Washington did formally call for a national Thanksgiving.
In the end 最后
In the end it was his stomach and lungs that packed up.
In the end you have to readjust your expectations.
1789年9月，美国政府刚成立数月 。乔治·华盛顿是第一任总统 。国会也新成立不久 。有些早期的议员给总统提出了一个问题：你会主张设立一个全国性的感恩节吗？
其目标之一是帮助团结这个由13个前殖民地组成的年轻国家 。设立全国性的感恩节是将美国人团结起来的一种方式 。
但是其他议员强烈反对这种想法 。批评者有两个主要的担忧 。
首先，有人认为感恩节是一个宗教节日 。他们指出，总统不能利用联邦政府权力督促美国人遵守或不遵守某种宗教传统 。
第二，反对该措施的人士认为，总统无权主张设立一个全国性的感恩节 。他们称这一决定应由各州州长做主 。
华盛顿最终正式宣布感恩节为全国性的节日 。这是美国第一份总统公告 。华盛顿在这份总统公告中主张设立全国“公众感恩节和祈祷日 。”
梅兰妮·柯克帕特里克是《感恩节：美国经历的核心节日》这本书的作者 。她解释说，华盛顿将公告副本发送给13个州的州长 。他要求各州长响应他选定的感恩节的主张 。
柯克帕特里克指出，华盛顿总统非常受人尊敬 。因此州长们都同意了 。
今年的感恩节，数百万美国人将聚餐并表达他们的感谢 。他们的聚会可能是响应华盛顿总统的第一份感恩节公告 。华盛顿总统在公告中指出，所有宗教的信众都应该庆祝感恩节 。
这个想法仍然很重要 。美国包括移民在内的几乎所有人都以某种形式庆祝这一节日 。
柯克帕特里克表示，对于新美国人来说，这一天可能会成为一种仪式 。用她的话来说：“就是说一旦开始庆祝感恩节，就会知道你在真正融入这个巩固你美国人地位的全国性节日 。”