The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Indeed, the original incarnation of Thanksgiving was as thanks to god for the abundant harvest. In reviewing journals and manuscripts from the earliest formation of…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER93% of users find it useful
The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state"

Thanksgiving and the Separation of Church and While contemporary formulations of Thanksgiving characterize it as a secular holiday, it wasn’t always this way. Indeed, the original incarnation of Thanksgiving was as thanks to god for the abundant harvest. In reviewing journals and manuscripts from the earliest formation of Thanksgiving with the pilgrims, one sees the pro-formation of the holiday as a religious occurrence. In Of Plymouth Plantation, when speaking of the first Thanksgiving gather, John Bradford talks of how, “Thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways (Bradford 100).” In Mourt’s Relation, Edward Winslow writes, “And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty (Winslow).” The first official proclamation of Thanksgiving was by George Washington in 1789 and it contained an overtly religious message. Washington said that Congress implored him, "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
However, Thomas Jefferson refused to deliver a Thanksgiving proclamation and one of the primary reasons was because he believed it violated the policy of separation of church and state. As is evidenced by the above referenced material the majority understanding of Thanksgiving was clearly as a religious holiday and Jefferson’s rejection of it on the national scale would be similar to a contemporary President embracing Easter for the expressed celebration of Jesus resurrection. It’s worth noting that Jefferson did issue a Thanksgiving proclamation as a governor, a fact some historians attribute to Jefferson’s understanding of the constitution as restricting matters of religion in the Executive Branch, but leaving them open for interpretation on the state level. Yet this didn’t step other Presidents from drawing connections between religion and Thanksgiving well into the 20th century.
Bradford William, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647.
Edward Winslow. "Primary Sources for "The First Thanksgiving" at Plymouth". Mourts
Pilgrim Hall Museum. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation by George Washington". George Washington Papers at Library of
Congress. Library of Congress. Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state Essay”, n.d.)
The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state Essay. Retrieved from
(The Meaning of Thanksgiving and the Separation of Church and State Essay)
The Meaning of Thanksgiving and the Separation of Church and State Essay.
“The Meaning of Thanksgiving and the Separation of Church and State Essay”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state

Separation of church and state

...?Separation of Church and Define the concept of "separation of church and   Separation of Church and is one of the governing principles under the Constitution of the United States, which forbids any interference of religion in affairs of the state. At the time of the inclusion of this provision in the American constitution, it was seen as a revolutionary and progressive policy to adopt. 2- Where did it originate? Is it the US constitution, what did Thomas Jefferson mean when he spoke of maintaining "a wall of separation between church and...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

New Age Movement: Tithing and offering Replaced by Economic Empowerment at the Expense of Congregants

... et al 2009). Following the American Revolution, the beginning of the withdrawal of government state funding of churches began to fade. To start with the Establishment Clause contained in the First Amendment to the US Constitution mandated that Congress could not establish a national church. Essentially the Establishment Clause provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” (US Constitution, First Amendment, Establishment Clause). The main idea was to establish the separation of church and state and the perpetuation of a secular government (Gaxiola-Viss 2008, p. 1). In the immediate aftermath of the American Revolution, some states continued to provide support for churches despite the enactment... of the...
200 Pages(50000 words)Dissertation

The Separation of Church and State

...? The Separation of the Church and the School This paper provides the advantages and disadvantages of a close link or even the union of the church and the state. They are outlined and explained through a discussion of theocracy. The main point of the paper is that while there are advantages involved in this form of political system, it poses several problems for highly humanistic societies such as the United States. The secular concerns of the civil government often go against the mystical preoccupation of religion. Close ties between the church and the state is an alien concept for countries like the United...
4 Pages(1000 words)Term Paper

The Separation of Church and State

...The separation of church and is distancing the relationship of the organized religion and the nation. This concepthas been adopted in many countries, but the degree of separation depends on applicable legal structures and prevailing views towards proper role of religion in a certain society issues. There are different reasons why people want a separation of church and state. The first reason is because the rights of the minority will probably be violated by the majority meaning members of a majority religion are favored by the state often while the minority religion are persecuted, harassed and socially...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Separation of church and state

...Task Separation of the church and the The first American constitution amendment was very strict on the separation of the church from the state. This aspect led to diversification of religions in the Americas, as the government did not have the right to prohibit or endorse a religion. The enshrining of this separation in the constitution led to a high proliferation of religious activities in the country. With a high number of religious people in America today, the government plays no role in religion; no funding, no endorsements and no prohibitions (ADL, Para 2). The religious beliefs have however had a visible role in the national...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Church and State

...the advent of marvelous scientific and technological advancements making the life peaceful, comfortable and luxurious one in general. There was a time when the entire Europe used to be submitting to the decrees issued by the church. The establishment of the Holy Roman Empire was also the outcome of the dominance influence of church on state and all its institutions. While elaborating the position of church and state in his remarkable “The Prince”, distinguished Italian philosopher Machiavelli strongly demands the separation of church from the political affairs of government and state (2010, p.45). It is...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Separation of church and state

...Church and the Should Be Separated Introduction Different individuals have defined separation of a state and church differently and there has been tremendous amount of confusion and conflict on the real definition of separation of state and religion. For example: some may argue that separation of state and religion means that the state or the government should not intervene in each other’s issue and they are two different things (Corbett 220). Others might argue that the separation of state and church...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Separation of Church and State

...who are as eager to separate church and state, as those who seek to integrate them more tightly. One of the other primary issues that is raised in this debate is the rather practical one as to whether or not church and state are really separated at all. It is suggested that the notions of political liberalism, democracy, and the founding principles of modern states are based implicitly on moral codes and mores derived from religious institutions. Thus, religion and government are not inseparable a priori. The second type of argument given in this vein offers that the increase in the number and percentage of religious...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

Separation of Church and State

...Separation of Church and State Introduction American attitudes concerning church-state relations are subject to two conflicting forces. First, Americans are very religious. In comparison with citizens of other industrialized nations, Americans report an extraordinarily high degree of religious belief, association, and practice. This means that, at times, there is a strong enticement on the part of some citizens to transform their religious principles into public policy. Specifically, if religion is a significant influence in a citizen's life, that citizen seems more probable to seek government support of religiously based values. Second,...
17 Pages(4250 words)Essay

The Separation of Church and State

...which resulted in the never-ending debates regarding the Church and State. The disagreement over separation between the Church and State became evident during periods of religious awakenings and revivals. Additionally, the issue of integration of immigrants into different ethnic, cultures and religious group results in frequent recurrent of the debate (Allen11-15). Another aspect that has heightened the debate on the separation of Church and State is the recurrent allusion of the constitution as sacred text. Opponents of joining the Church and the State argue that...
3 Pages(750 words)Thesis
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic The meaning of Thanksgiving and the separation of church and state for FREE!

Contact Us