President's Day

President's Day History, Traditions, Facts, Information and Related Activities.

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President's Day

President's Day is a celebration of both George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's Birthdays.

The Holiday is celebratedPresidents Washington and Lincoln on the third Monday of February.
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George WashingtonFebruary 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799 at age 67
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George Washington, known as
"The Father of Our Country",
 was the first President of the United States of America. He played a major role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776, declaring the Colonies to be free and independent states. He fought valiantly in the American Revolution and led the Colonists to Freedom as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. He was a wise and courageous man admired for his honesty and strength of character.

Two famous tales told about him are from the book, "The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington" by Parson Mason Locke Weems. Parson Weems speaks of George tossing a stone across the Rappahannock River. (Later, the stone became a silver dollar in American folk lore. )
Standing Washington He also speaks of
his having chopped down a cherry tree and admitting it to his Father, as he could not tell a lie. Whether these stories are fact or fiction is uncertain but, both are favorite stories associated with Washington.

George Washington, a Virginian and plantation owner himself of the estate known as Mount Vernon on the Potomac River, was a methodical man. He gave a great deal of thought to every decision he made. However, once his decision was made he did not waver in his resolve. Valley Forge is a testimonial to that resolve. Valley Forge was a strategic location chosen because it separated the British forces in Philadelphia from the colonist Congress operating in York, Pennsylvania. It was there with a small army of 11,000 men through a freezing Winter with few supplies and many desertions that Washington was able to train his forces, with the help of Baron Frederick Van Steuben. The sheer force of his belief in the Colonists right to freedom was what pulled him through these, the darkest hours of the American Revolution. Washington went on to win our independence. Lord Cornwallis, leader of the British forces, surrendered on October 19, 1781. It took two more years before a peace treaty was signed in 1783 recognizing the Colonists independence.
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Washington and Lincoln
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Lincoln standingAbraham Lincoln
February 12, 1809 ~  April 12, 1865

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 Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President Abraham Lincoln  
and he is known as 
"The Great Emancipator."
Nicknamed "Honest Abe" Standing Lincoln with Address for his honesty and fairness and coming from very humble beginnings, Abraham Lincoln is the finest example of what an individual can achieve with hard work and the ambition to learn and to lead. He read constantly and went to great pains to get his hands on any books he could find to further his quest for knowledge. In his youth he walked miles to get to the only school house in his region. He did his homework by the light of the fire and used the back of a shovel to work out his sums, mathematics. His earliest reading material was the family bible and he relied on the truths it offered him and the comfort he derived from them throughout his whole life.

Lincoln took office as 16th President on March 4, 1861. Six weeks later, on April 12, 1861 the Civil War broke out when Fort Sumter was fired upon by the confederacy. 
The War would not end until April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Six days later, on April 15, 1865 the man who had said,
"Slavery is a continual torment to me"
was dead.
Assassinated by the actor, John Wilkes Booth.

Lincoln, known as the Great Emancipator, signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 giving freedom to slaves held in any state in the confederacy that did not return to the Union by the end of the year. 
Slavery was not abolished until the 13th Amendment was added to the Constitution on December 18, 1865, after Lincoln's death.

Lincoln had stated when he was a candidate for Senator of Illinois,
 "A house divided against itself cannot stand. 
I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave, half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. 
I do not expect the house to fall-but I do expect it will cease to be divided. 
It will become all one thing, or all the other.

He felt the fate of democracy lay in the preservation of the Union. 
It is doubtful that a divided America, 
two separate nations, 
would have achieved the success and prosperity it has had if the Union had not endured. 
Abraham Lincoln is directly responsible for that preservation.

"As I would not not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of Democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference is no Democracy. "

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