Thanksgiving: A Proclamation

The following Thanksgiving Proclamation was made by President George Washington on Oct. 3, 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me

“to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness”:

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, AD 1789, — George Washington


The following is a proclamation from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

 The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with  the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these  bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to  forget the source from which they come, others have been added,  which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to  penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible  to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of  a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has  sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their  aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has  been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and  harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military  conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the  advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of  wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to  the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle  or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements,  and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals,  have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has  steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made  in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country,  rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor,  is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase  of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

 It has seemed to  me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and  gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the  whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens  in every part of the United States, and also those who are at  sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart  and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of  Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth  in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up  the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances  and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national  perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those  who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the  lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and  fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal  the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be  consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace,  harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the  Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in  the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three,  and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

If you do your research, you’ll find that Thanksgiving was declared many, many times before these two Presidents spoke it into existence into the permanent history of our Nation. While the pilgrims usually get credit for the first Thanksgiving, our Lord was acknowledged in each of these early proclamations as the source of all things good. They declared that we need to give thanks- not just thanks for what we have and progress we have made personally and as a people…but thanks specifically to the “Almighty God” …”the Most High God”. So remember this tomorrow as you give thanks. It’s not about pilgrims or turkey…it really never was.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, …to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

Happy Thanksgiving all!


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