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Glenn Beck Tells the Little-Known Story Behind FDR's Decision to Change the Date of Thanksgiving

"The only reason why we changed..."

Glenn Beck revealed Wednesday the little-known reason behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1939 decision to change Thanksgiving Day, a choice headlined by Time magazine as a "mistake" one year later.

"At the tail end of the depression, Franklin Roosevelt — hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct their business between Thanksgiving and Christmas — moved Thanksgiving to November's third Thursday," Beck said on The Glenn Beck Radio Program.

Beck highlighted what he sees as the irony of the situation, saying it was the progressive party "that hates commercialism" that is responsible for Roosevelt's money-minded decision.

"The only reason why we changed from the fourth Thursday to the third was because in the third term of FDR, he officially disconnected [Thanksgiving] from God and connected it to the god of America — the almighty dollar," Beck said.

At the time, many were unhappy with Roosevelt's decision. The list is long, including frustrations from football coaches whose games, which had been scheduled well before FDR's declaration, wouldn't have the big crowds Thanksgiving always promised and the calendar makers who lost sales for datebooks made inaccurate by the president's choice.

Even Roosevelt's Republican rival, Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, voiced stern opposition to the holiday shift, comparing the president to Adolf Hitler, according to Time.

"If the change has any merit at all, more time should have been taken in working it out ... instead of springing it upon an unprepared country with the omnipotence of a Hitler," Landon said.

However, just two years later, Roosevelt reversed his controversial decision, moving Thanksgiving back to its decades-old post, the fourth Thursday in November.

"Midway in his press conference, with no change of voice or expression, the president picked up a memorandum and said there was one thing more. The reporters ... sucked in their breath," the 1941 TIME article reads. "They let it out again when they heard the president say that in 1942, Thanksgiving would be changed back to the traditional date, the last Thursday in November."

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Follow Tré Goins-Phillips (@tregp) on Twitter

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