Thanksgiving

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Why Did Abraham Lincoln Pardon a Turkey?

President Trump pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey yesterday, continuing a long and surprising tradition.

Such clemency apparently began with President Lincoln in 1863. Two years later, a White House reporter noted that “a live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner.” However, Lincoln’s son Tad “interceded in behalf of its life . . . [his] plea was admitted and the turkey’s life spared.”

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