Thanksgiving - American Holidays - One Minute History
1621 - Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag natives share an autumn harvest feast; this is believed to be the first Thanksgiving in the colonies. Despite objections, George Washington issues a thanksgiving proclamation to celebrate American victory and the new federal Constitution. Pumpkin pie was not served until the late 1700s. During the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln makes Thanksgiving a national holiday. Macy’s sponsors an annual parade in New York that continues to this day. 1939 - FDR moves the Thanksgiving holiday up a week to bolster retail sales during the Great Depression; it returns to the final Thursday of November by 1942. George Bush begins the ritual of issuing a presidential pardon for the White House turkey. Today, most Americans rank Thanksgiving as their second favorite holiday, behind only Christmas.