Today, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, it is interesting to look back in history to discover that not everyone liked the idea of a national Thanksgiving holiday. In 1789, when George Washington made in his proclamation that Americans gather on the last Thursday in November to give thanks for the establishment of “a form of government for their safety and happiness”, some members of Congress objected because they believed the authority to designate a Thanksgiving Day belonged to individual state governors, not the President. In turn, Washington issued the proclamation, but then “requested” the governors to proclaim his suggested day of Thanksgiving in their states; he did not order them to do so. Thanksgiving was widely celebrated throughout the land.
Thanksgiving Day football games have also been an American tradition. The first Thanksgiving Day football game took place in the mid-1870s, when Princeton played Yale in Hoboken, New Jersey. The Princeton-Yale game served as a beginning for the creation of a popular audience for Thanksgiving Day football, and by the 1890s there were thousands of games being played across the country.
One aspect of the holiday that has remained steadfast over the centuries is “gratitude.” On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, and of none, pause to give thanks.