President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving Day. The decree only technically affected the District of Columbia and federal employees but governors throughout
the Union followed suit with similar state proclamations.
Lincoln issued a similar proclamation in 1864. With the exception of Andrew Johnson designating the first Thursday in December as Thanksgiving Day 1865 and Ulysses Grant choosing the third Thursday
for Thanksgiving Day 1869, U.S. presidents maintained the holiday until Franklin Roosevelt broke with tradition in 1939.