A Nation in Gratitude : Debating America on Thanksgiving Day at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Eijck, G.J. van
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The purposes of national celebrations, celebrating the nation and its origins, often seem unambiguous. However, while investigating the actual festive practices, one is struck by a diversity of readings. This thesis will therefore investigate the rhetorical usages of Thanksgiving Day in Los Angeles, around the turn of the twentieth century. In order to reveal how references to the national past served various social, cultural and political needs, conclusions will be drawn from both governmental Thanksgiving Proclamations and local newspapers. More specifically, this concerns accounts of Thanksgiving Day in Republican, Democratic, socialist, Afro-American, Jewish, and German media. In the end, this thesis concludes that different interpretations of Thanksgiving Day in fact reflected a continuous debate over the foundations and meanings of the United States and its history itself.