According to Philip B. Kunhardt Jr., Philip B. Kunhardt III and Peter W. Kunhardt in Lincoln, An Illustrated Biography, two interesting facts are mentioned.
1. Did you know … that with the Civil War raging in the United States, and popularity for that war waning severely, the Union needed a way of getting more men to join the army. On March 3, 1863 Lincoln signed into law the United States’ first true Federal military draft. The Confederacy had implemented conscription one year earlier on April 16, 1862 and so the Union followed suit about one year later. Other presidents, such as James Madison, had attempted this during the American Revolutionary War but were unsuccessful. Lincoln’s new law applied to men of ages twenty to forty-five. Not surprisingly, this law was not received well and resulted in various demonstrations in most Northern states and a series of very violent and well publicized riots in New York City from July 11 to 13, 1863. For more on the New York Draft Riots of 1863 refer to the following links.
2. Did you know …that Lincoln was the first President to proclaim Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Everyone knows the story of the first Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and the Indians in 1621. The event was celebrated sporadically over the years but never as a full blown official holiday. Then in October, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared “that the last Thursday of November shall be set aside to as a day of thanksgiving, family gatherings and celebrations.”
At www.thelaboroflove.com the writer adds to this story.
“Every president since Lincoln has also declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. In 1941 Congress set the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November. This reversed a decision by President Roosevelt to celebrate Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November to give people more time to shop for Christmas.”
I have many books on Mr. Lincoln and the Civil War. With the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday coming up, you can be assured that there are many new books presently in the works for release in 2009. However, one book that I wish to recommend is the one I mentioned earlier. Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, written by Philip B. Kunhardt Jr., Philip B. Kunhardt III and Peter W. Kunhardt. This is an easy read, filled with well researched material and hundreds of photographs. The authors and designers of this book did a wonderful job in organizing this material so that it is easy to follow. I revert back to this volume time and time again. I recommend that you add this book to your library soon.
Lincoln: An Illustrated Biographyby Philip B. Kunhardt Jr., Philip B. Kunhardt III and Peter W. Kunhardt. Originally published in 1992 by Knopf, New York. Reprinted in 1999 by Garmercy Books (an imprint of Random House Value Publishing, Inc., New York by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN: 0-517-20715-X.
To see the entire series, click here “SUMMARY OF THE “DID YOU KNOW” ABRAHAM LINCOLN SERIES (Parts 1-15)”
If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by three Lincoln experts: