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President Roosevelt signing his 1902 Thanksgiving Proclamation act

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President Roosevelt signing his 1902 Thanksgiving Proclamation act

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Theodore Roosevelt Jr., (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. With the assassination of President William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the 26th President (1901-1909). He brought new excitement and power to the office, vigorously leading Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. He established many new national parks, forests, and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America, where he began construction of the Panama Canal. He greatly expanded the United States Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project the United States' naval power around the globe. His successful efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. Elected in 1904 to a full term, Roosevelt continued to promote progressive policies. After leaving office, Roosevelt went on safari in Africa and toured Europe. Returning to the USA, he became frustrated with Taft's approach as his successor. Roosevelt founded his own party, the Progressive, so-called "Bull Moose" Party, and called for wide-ranging progressive reforms. The split among Republicans enabled the Democrats to win both the White House and a majority in the Congress in 1912 fatally weakening the Republican Party. Frustrated at home, Roosevelt led a two-year expedition in the Amazon Basin, nearly dying of a tropical disease. During World War I, he opposed President Woodrow Wilson for keeping the U.S. out of the war against Germany, and offered his military services, which were never summoned. Although planning to run again for president in 1920, Roosevelt suffered deteriorating health and died in early 1919. Roosevelt has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. presidents. His face was carved into Mount Rushmore alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. "Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."

In the United States Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada - on the second Monday of October. The tradition of Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts. They first held a celebration of their harvest in 1621. The first national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by President George Washington in 1789. It became a holiday in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared that the last Thursday in November should be celebrated as Thanksgiving. Since then it has been celebrated every year and is an official federal holiday that was moved to the fourth Thursday of November in 1941 by President Franklin Roosevelt. Many cities have large parades on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps the largest and most famous parade is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Another popular way to spend the day is watching NFL football. The traditional food for the Thanksgiving meal includes a turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, vegetables, and pumpkin pie. Each year a live turkey is presented to the President of the United States who then "pardons" the turkey and it gets to live out its life on a farm.

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01/01/1902
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Library of Congress
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