Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rethinking Thanksgiving Day

From New York City’s The Plaindealer, Dec. 3, 1836, an editorial by William Leggett (1801-1839):

“Thursday, the fifteenth of the present month, has been designated by Governor Marcy, in his annual proclamation, as a day of general thanksgiving throughout this state. ... [I]t may seem presumptuous to suggest an objection; yet there is one which we confess seems to us of weight, and we trust we shall not be thought governed by an irreligious spirit, if we take the liberty to urge it. ...

“It is to the source of the proclamation, not to its purpose, that we chiefly object. The recommending a day of thanksgiving is not properly any part of the duty of a political Chief Magistrate: it belongs, in its nature, to the heads of the church, not to the head of the state.”

[Democratick Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy, by William Leggett; Liberty Press, Indianapolis]

Note: Thanks, Ralph Raico, for drawing this editorial to my attention in lecture after lecture.


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