What Was The Reason That President Abraham Lincoln, The 16th President, Declared the Last Thursday in November as a National Holiday for Thanksgiving or Giving Thanks in the Proclamation of October 3, 1863?

December 2nd, 2015  

A Report by Bro. Antwine Cook-Bey

Africanus the First


Just exercising my five senses and by studying the following history and timeline, I feel that it was honoring our arising for the future and not rejoicing over our downfall of the past.

First and foremost we as a studious people must know and realize that we were in the middle of a Civil War. The question is, why would a Proclamation of Thanksgiving be given, who and what was the president giving thanks for, and to have the entire country acknowledge as well? Let’s take a little journey through a timeline of history to connect the dots and see what the purpose of that Thanksgiving was and to whom it was for. Let’s journey…

So let’s start in the year of 1862 and take a short walk through history beginning 7 months prior to October 3th, 1863, which will be March 6th, 1862 when President Lincoln presented a “message to Congress” recommending “Compensated Emancipation”. 4 days later on March 10th,1862 President Lincoln was asked by Rep. William A. Hall of Kentucky his opinions regarding slavery. The congressman present reported that Lincoln said: “He did not pretend to disguise his anti-slavery feeling, that he thought it was wrong, and continues to think so according to the Border State Congressman, Lincoln clearly stated his displeasure in having to protect the right to hold other persons as property and that such a law was to him an “odious law” not by violating the rights (to this type of property), but by encouraging the proposition and offering endurements to give it up.

For he, President Lincoln, was actively pursuing a legislative course, propositions along with endurements to abolish slavery; Now let’s observe the path to freedom in part. The following month of April 16th, 1862, President Lincoln signed into law an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, causing then governor and Senior Senator Charles Sumner of Mass to call it “The first installment of the great debt which we owe to an enslaved race and will be recognized as one of the victories of humanity”. Then, June 19th 1862, 2 months later Lincoln signed the “Territorial Abolition Act” which abolished slavery in all Federal territories. One month later, on July 17th, 1862, Congress passed the “Militia Act of 1862” It had become an Indispensable military necessity to call on America’s’ African descent population to help “Save the Union”. For at this point in the war the south was winning and now the true purpose of the Civil War was revealed which was a war to save the Union and also a war for Emancipation of the so-called “slaves”.

After the passing of the Militia Act of July 17, 1862, Senator Charles Sumner declared that “the passing of this legislation was an occasion of just congratulations that the long debates of this session have at last ripened into a measure which I do not hesitate to declare as more important than any victory which has been achieved by our arms, Thank God! The road to emancipation had been paved by legislation.

5 days later on July 22, 1862 after signing the Militia Act of July 17, 1862 also known as the Second Confiscation Act, President Lincoln met with his Cabinet and informed them he was going to issue an Emancipation Proclamation acting on the authority that Congress had granted him.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase recommended that the President add stronger language to his Proclamations concerning the arming of men of African descent

Another of Lincoln’s cabinet members, Secretary of State William Seward, advised the President not to issue his Proclamation at that time July of 1862. (Seward was a abolitionist who had supported operations along the Underground Railroad.) Yet, he advised Lincoln not to issue the Emancipation Proclamation as yet. So the question is, why?

Seward told the President “It will be viewed on the mind of the people as the last measure of an exhausted government, a cry for help. The government stretching forth its hands unto Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching for her hands unto the government.” (For Ethiopia was commonly used to refer to the so-called African-Americans in the 19th century.

Secretary of State, Seward advised Lincoln to wait until he could give it to the country supported by a military success, instead of issuing it as it would be the case now (July 1862) upon the greatest disasters of the war! Lincoln said he viewed, the matter as a practical war measure, to be decided on according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion, this considering Seward’s advice, wise political advice. Lincoln decided to wait for a military success that would mask the government’s true cry for help to the so-called African-Americans.

Yet, many abolitionist wanted Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation faster, but not weighing the practical political reality necessitating a Republican majority in Congress, and therefore to them it simply appeared that Lincoln was appeasing slaveholders by not acting on the authority the recent acts of congress had granted him. (For they had no clue what President Lincoln was up to.

Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase wrote a letter to General Benjamin F. Butler, the Commanding General of the Department Headquartered in New Orleans. Chase informed Butler that President Lincoln had suggested that it might possibly become necessary, in order to keep the Mississippi River open, below Memphis, to convert the heavy Black population of its banks into defenders.

In Chase’s opinion the President “appreciated the Military necessity of arming men of African descent and of emancipating the enslaved.”.

After being encouraged by Chase. Butler raised 3 regiments of African Descent in Late 1862. 1 month later, August 2, 1862 Lincoln presented the cabinet with the First Draft of his Proclamation, but he continued to conceal his content from the country.

1 month later after the passing of the Initial Proclamation of September 22, 1862, Lincoln stated that “he had made a vow, a covenant, that if God gave up the victory in the approaching battle, he would consider it an indication of Divine Will, and that it was his duty to move forward in the cause of Emancipation.” He also said that he had in this submitted the disposal of matters when the way was not clear to his mind what he should do.

But God declared this question in favor of the slaves. He was satisfied it was right, was confirmed and strengthened in his action by the vow and the results.

“I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper.”

3 months later (December 1st, 1862) The Compensated Emancipation, which was the 2nd Proclamation of Freedom was issued and 14 days later the Emancipation Proclamations became warranted as “permanent parts of the Constitution” December 15, 1862 becoming the Laws of the Land.

One month later, January 1st, 1863, the Third Proclamation of Freedom was issued (Supplemental Proclamation), and 6 months following on July 1-3, the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War, in which the so-called Blacks, our ancestors assisted and triumphed to win that great Union victory.

Lincoln recognized the contributions of the so-called Black freedmen and he declared “without the military help of so-called black freedmen, the war against the South could not have been won and without the Emancipation Proclamation, these soldiers and sailors would have had little reason to fight for the Union.”

President Lincoln wanted to declare a National day of Thanksgiving in Honor of the victories at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Fort Shiloh, and the Battle of Gettysburg.

President Lincoln had 2 celebrations of Thanksgiving, the first was issued in a proclamation of July 15, 1863 proclaiming a day for national Thanksgiving, praise, and prayer to be set for Thursday, August 6, 1863, following the Union’s victory at Gettysburg (Due to the Black freed man) This was the first time he ordered a day of Thanksgiving at the national level and on October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued the Proclamation that made that Thanksgiving a National Holiday to be observed on the last Thursday of every November based upon the previous victories in the Civil War and especially the Battle of Gettysburg. Now watch the science, 1 month later on November 19, 1863, the Gettysburg address was issued as the main and missing tool to get back into the Constitutional Fold of Government.

The Highlight and focus of the Thanksgiving proclaimed by President Lincoln was truthfully to honor, and to show gratitude and respect the Union Army for the victory at Gettysburg and President Lincoln gave thanks to the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes. (1863 was a pivotal year as far as historical events are concerned, the Emancipation Proclamations, Union Army victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg etc. and the Thanksgiving Proclamation.

By the end of 1863, General Ulysses Grant viewed the African Descent population armed with the Proclamation as a Powerful ally.

General Daniel Ullman and Nathaniel Banks testified that the brigades of Negroes behaved magnificently and fought splendidly and they were far superior in discipline to the white troops and just as brave.

August 15, 1864 in a interview with John T. Mills, Lincoln defended the use of Black troops by stating that “if the 200,000 Black soldiers had decided to fight for the Confederacy instead of the Union, he would have been compelled to abandon the war in 3 weeks.

So in conclusion as we come to a temporarily stop in this journey which continues to 1865. We helped save this nation, we risked , all for our freedom, our rights, our families, our posterity and the Preservation of the Union, which consisted of 35 Moors and 20 pale-skin Europeans.

So the question is, was President Lincoln and the nation giving thanks to the so-called Blacks who fought and died for the freedom of not just ourselves but the entire nation just based on the timeline of what was taking place?

We see our downfall from the Treaty of Granada on November 25, 1491 and not to mention the so-called first Thanksgiving by the Europeans and our ancestors and we know that it was a degrading reality of our downfall. Don’t get me wrong, I could and never will forget what happened to us but I feel President Lincoln’s Act of Proclaiming a national Thanksgiving was based on the awakening of the founders of civilization who stood up and fought, sacrificed and died for the saving of country as a whole and marching forward to a just and greatest government the world had ever known for us to take our place amongst the affairs of men. Just look at the timeline of freedom which finally was achieved in 1865, a new era of time. We helped to achieve the victory and won that Civil War a hidden and bloody truth. Just a different insight based on Lincoln’s Reason.

Peace and Islam


● United States Colored Troops: Victors not Victims
● Civilwar.org
● Militia Act of 1862 July 17
● Proclamation of October 3, 1863
● August 6, 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
● Supplemental Proclamation of June 1, 1863
● Initial Proclamation of September 22, 1862
● Compensated Proclamation of December 1, 1862
● Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863
● Oath of Amnesty December 8, 1863
● African American War Memorial and Museum
● Territorial Abolition Act June 19, 1862
● mrlincolnswhitehouse.org
● The Negro’s Civil War
● Slaves without Masters
● Black Confederates

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