Agoramania Soap Box
Today marks the 225th anniversary of the national Thanksgiving holiday proclaimed by George Washington, as a way to give thanks for the Constitution, and honor religious and civil liberty.
Before 1789, Thanksgiving had been observed in different ways in different regions. And during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress issued various proclamations – several a year at one point – for national days of prayer and giving thanks, usually in November and December.
President Washington had been asked by the First Congress in September 1789 to issue a proclamation from the new government under the Constitution after the lawmakers debated and passed a resolution introduced by Elias Boudinot of New Jersey in the House.
The resolution asked, “That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”
Five members of the First Congress, including Boudinot, approached Washington with the idea, and the President issued the proclamation (the second in presidential history) on October 3, 1789.
President Washington sent the Thanksgiving Proclamation to the states’ governors and asked for the leaders to make sure it was posted and published for all to see.
“I must request the favor of you to have published and made known in your State in the way and manner that shall be most agreeable to yourself,” he wrote.
The Thanksgiving Proclamation came two years before the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, but its tone and message is remindful of the constitutional protections of liberty in all forms that the Founders had fought for and later enshrined in Philadelphia in 1787.
Washington said he wanted the people to be thankful “for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed.”
The proclamation also makes it clear that the Thanksgiving Day, in Washington’s opinion, should be a day of prayer, especially for lawmakers and government officials.
“We may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed,” Washington asked.
The President established “Thursday, the 26th day of November next” as the Thanksgiving Day. In subsequent years, several other Presidents issued proclamations infrequently.
It was President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 who issued the next major Thanksgiving Day proclamation, and every President since Lincoln has issued an annual proclamation.
“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,” Lincoln said.
from the National Constitution Center
Happy Mother's Day!
Some Mother's Day Figures:
• In the United States, there are about 82.5 million mothers. (source: US Census Bureau)
• about 96% of American consumers take part in some way in Mother's Day (source: Hallmark)
• Mother's Day is widely reported as the peak day of the year for long distance telephone calls
• There are more than 23,000 florists in the United States with a total of more than 125,000 employees. Colombia is the leading foreign supplier of cut flowers and fresh flower buds to the US. California produces two-thirds of domestic production of cut flowers. (source: US Census Bureau)
• Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants
• Retailers report that Mother's Day is the second highest gift-giving holiday in the United States (Christmas is the highest).
• Most popular month for having babies in the US is August, and most popular weekday is Tuesday. (source: US Census Bureau)
• about twice as many young women were childfree in the year 2000 as in the 1950s (source: Ralph Fevre, The Guardian, Manchester, March 26, 2001)
• In the US, 82% of women ages 40-44 are mothers. This compares to 90% in 1976. (source: US Census Bureau)
• In Utah and Alaska, women on the average will have three children before the end of their childbearing years. Overall, the average in the United States is two. (source: US Census Bureau)
• In 2002, the 55% of American women with infant children were in the workforce, compared to 31% in 1976, and down from 59% in 1998. In 2002, there were 5.4 million stay-at-home mothers in the US. (source: US Census Bureau)
Happy Father's Day!
Some fun facts:
Father's Day: June 16, 2013
The idea of Father's Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration, June 17, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane's mayor because it was the month of Smart's birth. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
How Many Fathers?
Estimated number of fathers across the nation in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.
Source: Unpublished data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation
Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2012.
- 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
- 3 percent were a subfamily living in someone else's home.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html> Tables FG1 and FG3
Number of single fathers in 2012; 16 percent of single parents were men.
- Nine percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
- About 44 percent were divorced, 31 percent were never married, 20 percent were separated, and 5 percent were widowed.
- 42 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html> Table FG6
Thinking of You, Dad
The number of men's clothing stores around the country (as of 2010), a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (44811), <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>
The number of hardware stores (as of 2010), a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father's Day gifts. Additionally, there were 6,764 home centers across the country in 2010.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS codes (444130) and (444110), <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>
Number of sporting goods stores in 2010. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (451110), <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>
The number of Americans who participated in a barbecue in 2010. It's probably safe to assume many of these barbecues took place on Father's Day.
Source: GFK Mediamark Research and Intelligence as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012, Table 1240.
Fun Day with a Proud History
HAPPY NATIONAL DONUT DAY!
National Donut Day Fun Facts:
The Salvation Army:
- The Salvation Army started National Donut Day during the Great Depression as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to The Salvation Army's social service programs.
- National Donut Day commemorates the "donut lassies," female Salvation Army volunteers who provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals, and of course, donuts, for soldiers on the front lines.
- Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers in France starting in 1917 during WWI.
- With limited resources, these treats were fried, only seven at a time. The Salvation Army's Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance cleverly thought of frying donuts in soldiers' helmets.
- Last year, 30 million Americans received assistance from The Salvation Army's 3,600 officers, 64,000 employees and 3.4 million volunteers.
Happy Independence Day!
The Fourth of July Fun Facts 2012
On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970<http://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/HistoricalStatisticsoftheUnitedStates1789-1945.pdf>
The nation's estimated population on this July Fourth.
Source: Population clock <http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html>
Patriotic-Sounding Place Names
Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, was Liberty, Mo. (29,149). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas, with a population of 26,248.
Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, Mo., with a population of 116,830.
Nine places have “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pa., with a population of 4,464.
One place has “patriot” in its name. Patriot, Ind., has a population of 209.
Five places have “America” in their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah, with a population of 26,263.
Source: American FactFinder <http://www.census.gov>
Fourth of July Cookouts
Almost 1 in 3
The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 19.7 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2012. This estimate represents almost one-third of the nation's estimated total. North Carolina (8.6 million) and Minnesota (7.6 million) were also homes to large numbers of pigs.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/HogsPigs/HogsPigs-03-30-2012.pdf>
7.2 billion pounds
Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2011. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation's total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska (4.6 billion pounds) or Kansas (4.0 billion pounds).
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/MeatAnimPr/MeatAnimPr-04-26-2012.pdf>
Number of states in which the value of broiler chicken production was estimated at $1 billion or greater between December 2010 and November 2011. There is a good chance that one of these states — Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas — is the source of your barbecued chicken.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service<http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/PoulProdVa/PoulProdVa-04-26-2012.pdf>
Please Pass the Potato
Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues. Approximately half of the nation's spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2011.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProdSu/CropProdSu-01-12-2012.pdf>