OT: Thanksgiving Matters More than Ever but Once

The first Thanksgiving was only quasi-mythically the one with the Pilgrims. It is heartening and potent to remember that our current custom of this great feast was newly reestablished in 1863 by Lincoln as a necessary vision of hope and illumination during the Republic’s greatest crisis and near death:

The real first Thanksgiving, was proclaimed:

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863

Here in Mexico my husband and I are putting on an enormous banquet for our local community, rich and poor, complete with long ago reserved turkeys, pies, stuffing, and other USAian accoutrement, but also a big helping of Mexican sides our neighbors are bringing. There will be feasting, singing, and dancing. There will also be intense conversation.

Everyone, of both languages and nationalities, multiple relgions, and ages from barely literate to ancient, knows the topic of the afternoon into the night is the preservation of our all too fragile although antique and longtime defended Republics from the designs of vicious men, slaveholders, thieves, murderers, and their bought and owned tools within government.

I am convinced that Lincoln was convined that the Great War will be won, but not by arms alone but also by the grace of God – or Good Fortune, and that for that to come to pass it is of greatest value to count our blessings…

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One of the most impressive books I have ever read is This Fiery Trial, a collection of all of Lincoln’s public writings edited by William E. Gienapp. (**)

Gienapp provides the context for the situation Lincoln was addressing in each letter, editorial, communique, etc. and thus explains how Lincoln’s sense of morality evolved over the years prior to the Civil War and how he steadily evolved to a higher plane he could articulate to the rest of the country to lead it through a war and away from our original sin as a nation.

By doing so, Lincoln’s mastery of logic, rhetoric and politics becomes far more evident as you understand the political needles Lincoln had to thread to begin moving public thinking in the right direction while not alienating a majority needed to gain and retain power.


** Not to be confused with another book with a nearly identical title, The Fiery Trial.


Thanks to you both for these posts!