Bethany

Thankfully Abraham Lincoln Listened

In General, Strategy, Trends on November 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Where things originate from always fascinates me.  Whether its social media or a national holiday, digging into the roots gives a new perspective on where we are in the present moment.  For example, with social media, businesses and people in general seem to make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Just go back to the basics of relationships, communication, and sales/marketing…and apply those SAME principles to the NEW CHANNELS of communication.  Aren’t we thankful it’s not rocket science? :)  (This is where I can hear Michelle from the old TV show, Full House, say “DUH”  haha)

Anyway – this got me to thinking about Thanksgiving.  What was the first Thanksgiving holiday like?  Were people praising the same things back then as we are today?  Did people live with an attitude of gratitude more than now?  How happy were Americans back then?  Wait…who’s idea was Thanksgiving?

Well, most might say Abraham Lincoln, since he wrote the proclamation on October 3, 1863 to set apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”  However, where did the idea come from?

Truth be told, it came from Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival…”

You may have observed that, for some years  past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

IMAGINE:  What would have happened if Abraham Lincoln & his staff didn’t “LISTEN” to their citizens, such as, Sarah (who obviously represents a ‘real’ voice among her peers.) ….  Don’t you think we (as businesses) should be actively listening to consumers?  We might miss out on a great idea/suggestion or some sort of constructive feedback if we don’t.  If you’re a SBM client, this is already part of your game plan…if not, we’ll discuss those tools again in a later post.

Now back to the Thanksgiving story…here’s the proclamation, written by Abraham Lincoln:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Pretty interesting and a nice refresher, huh?

Have a Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

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