After two years of confusion and complaint, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signed legislation establishing Thanksgiving Day as the
fourth Thursday in November. Calendars and holiday plans were already
set for the third Thursday in November, 1941 so the legislation
took effect in 1942.
Roosevelt, recognizing the problems caused by his 1939 decree,
had announced a plan to return to the traditional Thanksgiving
date in 1942. But Congress introduced the legislation to ensure
that future presidential proclamations could not impact the scheduling
of the holiday. Their plan to designate the fourth Thursday of
the month allowed Thanksgiving Day to fall on the last Thursday
five out of seven years.