Monday, November 23, 2009

A Civil War Thanksgiving...November 24, 1864. As drawn by Thomas Nast

This is the original Thanksgiving cartoon by Thomas Nast. For November 24, 1864

Thanksgiving became a official federal holiday in 1863. It had existed of course for many years. But during the American Civil War it became a true legal holiday. In 1864 there was a lot of cartoons about the holiday, perhaps none as unique as this one by Thomas Nast.

The holiday was declared by Abraham Lincoln as mentioned in 1863, but by 1864 there was much more going on for the holiday. Also the holiday was centered around the war.

In the various pictures in this cartoon there were some of the evil confederates, the peace keepers, the sailors, and thanks to Maryland, for freeing her slaves. (Not that they wanted too!)

In the blow up of the main picture you see Lincoln and his generals standing on a rebel flag. This was a Thanksgiving like none ever, as it was the last one of the Civil War period.

Lincoln would die the following April, and the holiday would take on a more thankful, rather than militaristic stance after his administration.
But as in the beginnings of all holidays, it had to get it's roots, and style.