Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving one week from tomorrow, on the fourth Thursday in November. The first Thanksgiving actually took place in October, but Abraham Lincoln set the precedent of celebrating on the last Thursday of November. Every president thereafter abided by the Lincoln rule until Franklin Delano Roosevelt came along. In 1939, FDR’s New Deal programs had been implemented for six years. FDR was forced to end his dabble into socialism because it was a complete abysmal failure. Rather than give up his radical leftist ideas, FDR concocted the most harebrained moneymaking scheme in American history. He wanted to move Thanksgiving.
Unlike today, retailers in the 1930s respected the spirit of thankfulness enough to not promote Christmas retail shopping until Thanksgiving was over. Roosevelt thought that by moving Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday in November, he could boost end-of-year retail sales and bail himself out of his failed New Deal fiasco.
Understandably, the American people were outraged. Polls showed that the majority of Americans wanted to keep Thanksgiving at the date observed by Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Who was Franklin Roosevelt to go around changing things arbitrarily? As the drama intensified, the matter went to the states, where each governor got to choose how the holiday would be observed in their jurisdiction. In the end, twenty-two states observed Roosevelt’s so-called “Democrat Thanksgiving,” while twenty-three states observed the traditional, or “Republican,” Thanksgiving. Leave it to Democrats to make Thanksgiving partisan. It’s no wonder people mockingly started calling it “Franksgiving.”
In the end, Franksgiving was a colossal failure, just like the New Deal before it. There was no noticeable increase in sales as a result of Roosevelt’s controversial decision. In 1941, he signed an act of Congress establishing the current observation of the fourth Thursday in November, which cannot be changed arbitrarily by the president. Let Franksgiving be a lesson to all of us. Leftists will do anything to avoid admitting that capitalism really is the best way for American businesses to prosper. Whether it’s the New Deal, the Green New Deal, or Franksgiving, no gimmick is too low. Don’t fall for it. Next Thursday, let’s be thankful for the blessing of capitalism.