Monthly Archives: February 2015

Presidents Day

The federal holiday honoring ‘George Washington’ was originally implemented by an ‘Act of Congress’ in (1879) for government offices in ‘Washington’ and expanded in (1885) to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an ‘American President’, the holiday was celebrated on ‘Washington’ actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, (1971), the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the ‘Uniform Monday Holiday Act’. This date places it between February 15 and 21, which makes the name “Washington’s Birthday” in some sense a misnomer, since it never occurs on ‘Washington’ actual birthday, either February 11 or February 22.

Today, the February holiday has become well known for being a day in which many stores, especially car dealers, hold sales. Until the late (1980), corporate businesses generally closed on this day, similar to present corporate practices on ‘Memorial Day’ or ‘Christmas Day’. With the late (1980) advertising push to rename the holiday, more and more businesses are staying open on the holiday each year, and, as on ‘Veterans Day’ and ‘Columbus Day’, most delivery services outside of the ‘United States Postal Service’ now offer regular service on the day as well. Some public transit systems have also gone to regular schedules on the day. Many colleges and universities hold regular classes and operations on ‘Presidents Day’.

Various theories exist for this, one accepted reason being to make up for the growing trend of corporations to close in observance of the ‘Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.’ Conversely, many schools and business formerly open on this day began closing after the observance of ‘Dr. King’ birthday holiday became prevalent. This was done in order not to diminish ‘Washington’ birthday in comparison to ‘King’. However, when reviewing the ‘Uniform Monday Holiday Bill’ debate of (1968) in the ‘Congressional Record’, one notes that supporters of the ‘Bill’ were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business.

Both ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Washington’ birthdays are in February. In historical rankings of ‘Presidents of the United States’ both ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Washington’ are frequently, but not always, the top two presidents.

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Republican Politics

On November 6, (1860), ‘Lincoln’ was elected the 16th president of the ‘United States’, beating ‘Democrat’ ‘Stephen A. Douglas’, ‘John C. Breckinridge’ of the ‘Southern Democrats’, and ‘John Bell’ of the new ‘Constitutional Union Party’. He was the first president from the ‘Republican Party’. His victory was entirely due to the strength of his support in the ‘North’ and ‘West’; no ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 ‘Southern’ slave states, and he won only two of 996 counties in all the ‘Southern’ states.

On May 9–10, (1860), the ‘Illinois’ ‘Republican State Convention’ was held in ‘Decatur’. ‘Lincoln’ followers organized a campaign team led by ‘David Davis’, ‘Norman Judd’, ‘Leonard Swett’, and ‘Jesse DuBois’, and ‘Lincoln’ received his first endorsement to run for the presidency. On May 18, at the ‘Republican National Convention’ in ‘Chicago’, ‘Lincoln’ friends promised and manipulated and won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as ‘William H. Seward’ and ‘Salmon P. Chase’. A former ‘Democrat’, ‘Hannibal Hamlin’ of ‘Maine’, was nominated for ‘Vice President’ to balance the ticket. ‘Lincoln’ success depended on his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for ‘Whiggish’ programs of internal improvements and the protective tariff.

‘Abraham Lincoln’ was born February 12, (1809), the second child of ‘Thomas’ and ‘Nancy Hanks Lincoln’, in a one-room log cabin on the ‘Sinking Spring Farm’ in ‘Hardin County’, ‘Kentucky’. He is a descendant of ‘Samuel Lincoln’, who migrated from ‘Norfolk’, ‘England’ to ‘Hingham’, ‘Massachusetts’, in (1638). ‘Samuel’ grandson and great-grandson began the family western migration, which passed through ‘New Jersey’, ‘Pennsylvania’, and ‘Virginia’. ‘Lincoln’ paternal grandfather and namesake, ‘Captain Abraham Lincoln’, moved the family from Virginia to ‘Jefferson County’, ‘Kentucky’ in the (1780s).

‘Lincoln’ has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest ‘United States’ presidents.

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