When times are tough, it’s always important and useful to focus on the positive. Considering President Lincoln wrote this proclamation after two devastating years of war between the Union and Confederate armies, I believe focusing on the positive is exactly what he is encouraging the people of the United States to do. President Lincoln acknowledges “magnitude and severity” of the war, but then notes that there are still blessings to count. Waging war requires a large amount of resources and manpower. The War is wasteful. Lives, time, land, and various other resources will be destroyed. Fortunately, peaceful industry has not come to a halt, exploration is still occurring, minerals and ore are still being mined, the population is still increasing even with the toll the war has taken. These are all things to observe and be thankful for. When he writes, “continuance of years with large increase of freedom,” I’m assuming he’s addressing the newly found freedom African Americans will have once the war is over. A large sacrifice is being made to make this new freedom possible. This is certainly worth thanksgiving.

Even as a Confederate auditor, if you were to sit back and objectively think about what President Lincoln is addressing in this proclamation, you would be able to find a reason to give thanks. You may not have an enslaved labor force that works for free once the war is over, but at least you’ll still have fields of crops. Well, unless your field happens to be in the path of Sherman’s March to the Sea. In that case, give thanks for waking up and being able to breathe.

Ultimately, I think Lincoln’s case for a day of thanks is still persuasive today. Despite the horrible tragedy in France, the racial tensions in the United States, and the fact that Donald Trump is leading in the GoP polls, we all still have endless reasons to give thanks. I would challenge anyone in the class or even anyone at Georgia Tech period to describe their current situation and I can guarantee I can find a reason for them to be thankful.

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