Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

This Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation interactive also includes:

While most Americans connect the celebration of Thanksgiving to a colonial celebration of pilgrims and Native Americans, the national holiday was actually the product of a war-time measure by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Learners examine his proclamation creating the national holiday, honing in on key texts in the proclamation. After they examine the document and an accompanying Thomas Nast cartoon, class members discuss the importance of this celebration. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the activity as an introduction to learning about Thanksgiving
  • Supplement instruction of the Civil War with the interesting anecdote from the conflict
Classroom Considerations
  • All students need to access the Internet
  • Document focuses on a lesser-known aspect of Thanksgiving
  • Lesson is scaffolded for younger pupils
  • It's unclear who receives the online responses included in the activity