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history of thanksgiving and the birth of a nation

Thanksgiving and the Birth of a Nation

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. A celebration is held throughout the world although the festival's date differs from country to country.

For Americans, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and has done so on and off after George Washington, the 1st President of the United States, proclaimed in 1789 following a request from the newly formed congress. However, when Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, came to power in 1801 for reasons only known by him decided that the celebration would not be observed.

It would take the arrival of America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who, during the American Civil War in 1863, declared that Thanksgiving would become an American Federal Holiday celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

The above celebratory date would remain intact until 1939 when Franklin D. Roosevelt caused much controversy by changing the date, yet again to the third week of November, thinking that this would bolster retail sales during the fading days of the American Great Depression. It would take the attributions of the Atlantic City mayor Thomas D. Taggart, Jr, who used a portmanteau of the name of “Franklin D. Roosevelt” and “Thanksgiving” which changed the name of “Thanksgiving” into “Franksgiving,”

The above combination of the two words rapidly caused the federal holiday of “Thanksgiving” to be changed back to the last week of November where it has remained up until this day where it has become the signal for the start of the holiday season, including not only Thanksgiving but both Christmas and New Year.

This signal would also be responsible for spawning two other days, synonymous with seasonal online shopping and traditional shopping. “Cyber Monday” was held the first Monday after “Thanksgiving,” and “Black Friday” was held the day after Thanksgiving. We will hear much more about these two mega shopping days later in this narrative, a narrative commissioned by America's favorite place to shop online in 2019, BargainBrute.Com.

Although we have past Presidents of the USA to thank for the actual dates we choose to celebrate “Thanksgiving” on, none of this would have been possible if it were not for the astonishing actions of 102 lost souls who set sail from Plymouth, England, on the 16th September 1620, in a rat invested overladen ship called the “Mayflower.” Much has been chronicled about this group of people we now call pilgrims, but what happened both during the trip and before has been extremely unreported, so let's take a look at this extraordinary Atlantic crossing and what led up to it.

The Beginning and the First Martyrs of the cause

The core of the group who would become known as “the Pilgrims” was first formed into what would become an extremely puritan secular group between 1586 and 1605. They would all share the common belief that the powerful “Church of England” was both corrupt and unspiritual. They would choose as their leaders  Robert Browne, John Greenwood, and Henry Barrowe, all of whom wanted to separate from England.

In these early days, it was deemed a crime not to attend regular Church of England services; furthermore, it was considered a crime to hold non confirming church services, so most of their meetings were held in secrecy. However, many informers lived close by, all eager to earn a penny from their local Church authorities. As mentioned above, due to the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1559, it was illegal to miss church services and carry stiff penalties.

For missing one Church of England Service, a nonconformist would be fined one shilling about  $40.00 in today's money. The penalties grew even steeper for repeated offenses, including imprisonment and higher penalties for conducting illegal services. All suffered from these medieval dictatorial directives, which resulted in the detention of all three church leaders. It did not take long for the future Mayflower pilgrims to learn the fate of their leaders.

All three were imprisoned in Southwork London, where Henry Barrowe, John Greenwood, and John Penry were executed for treason in 1593. Most of the group, through a friend, then escaped to Holland, where once again, after an initial warm welcome, they were persecuted. This leads a small group of them to return to England, where they hid out in the countryside close to “Southampton.” They would remain there until their escape on the Mayflower was planned.

The Voyage to the New World

It was initially planned to have two ships to take the pilgrims across the Atlantic, the “Speedwell” and the “Mayflower.” The Speedwell was an old 60-ton British battleship that had been part of the British fleet that dispatched the “Spanish Armada” back in 1588. It was her job to sail to Delfshaven in Holland, where it would pick up the pilgrims group who had decided not to leave with the others the previous year.

By this time, the Mayflower had arrived in Southhampton, where it picked up the pilgrims who had escaped the previous year from Holland and awaited the arrival of the “Speedwell.” The conditions on-board the Mayflower were already dreadful. All passengers were crammed into the dark, dank areas that once had been used to transport army supplies, but here they waited, often in the dark, frightened to sleep for fear that rats would gorge themselves on their prone bodies the arrival of the Speedwell.

Finally, the Speedwell arrived, and on a warm summer's day on the 5th of August, they set sail for their new lives in the new country, hoping that all their hardships had ended. However, this was wishful thinking as they did not get far. Soon the “Speedwell” began taking on water, so both ships were diverted to Dartmouth, Devon. Here the crews attempted to seal the many leaks, but unfortunately, after only getting as far as Plymouth, England, the vessel continued to take on water. This forced them to head for Plymouth, England, which was just around the headland from Devenport.

Once in Plymouth, anyone who wanted to continue on the journey was crammed onto the “Mayflower” of the original 120 passengers. 102 were to continue. Of these, only about 40% were from the original congregation. The rest were people who were going over, hoping to improve their life. The Mayflower set sail for the promised land on the 16th of September 1620, leaving Plymouth, England.

Atlantic crossing

The actual crossing was mind-numbing. Violent winds tore down sails, and at one point, the master mast broke only to be fixed by using a large jack called a “great iron screw” brought by the settlers, probably for the use in building their homes once they landed. One man named John Howland was swept overboard only to be caught up in the trailing rigging which came of the mainmast when it broke (he was pulled to safety). Five people died on the voyage, a miracle in itself as most onboard were sick from scurvy and malnutrition. On a better note, one child was born on the 3-month crossing, and he was named Oceanus (Latin for Oceans). He was to die five years later, his actual grave marker unknown. The boy would join 42 of the original Mayflower passengers who died during the harsh winter of 1620-21, the first year of their arrival.

Authors note: Luckily for both Presidents George Bush and his son George W. Bush along with Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt. If the Mayflower crew had not managed to save John Howland (the man who was swept overboard in the storm described above), the world would have been a much different place today, as they all descended from him.

The Mayflower was to rest at anchor in Provincetown Harbor, close to their first sight of the new land. Later they would sail around the point to land at Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they would set up their first colony. It would also be the site of America’s first “Thanksgiving Feast.” The year was 1620, and that feast has been celebrated ever since in the last week of November, give or take a few Presidential proclamations.

Flash forward to the present day

You can tell that we are closing in on the busiest season for holiday shopping as the normally quiet foothills of the American Rocky Mountains, especially Fort Collins, Colorado, are bustling with activity. If you would look towards the “Mount Rushmore National Memorial,”  in the black hills of Dakota, you will see national park rangers dangling in front of the four Presidents  (George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) who are all carved into its side, brushing desert dust off them to ensure they are all spic and span for the traditional “Thanksgiving Feast” and they are not alone.

Yes, as well as park rangers, the friendly team of BargainBrute.Com, voted the best place to shop online, are also hard at work. With their 49 separate stores spread out not only in Fort Collins, Colorado but throughout the country, they will be up against it. However, do not fear they have done this before. Distributing their stock of over 3 million different high-quality products to their network of 97 different warehouses spread throughout America to make sure all are delivered mostly same day of order, directly to their customer’s front door is the norm for them, they have done this since they have been in business.

The amount people spend during the holiday season is extraordinary, absolutely mind-numbing, as some people put it. Last year Americans dipped into their pockets and spent a staggering $5 billion in online shopping in the space of just one day. If you find that confounding, then what analysts predict Americans will fork out for the whole season between the beginning of  November and the end of December will astound you further.

It is estimated that consumers will spend a total of over $1 trillion.

With that gigantic figure spinning around in your head, I will leave you to contemplate what is the most significant holiday season anywhere on the planet, and I look forward to seeing you on the inside at America's favorite place to shop online.

Happy Thanksgiving, keep safe, and God Bless.

The Team at BargainBrute.Com



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