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George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Restoring America ^ | 1789 | George Washington

Posted on 11/27/2002 9:03:24 AM PST by stainlessbanner

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

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 been enable 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 all 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 show 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 dy of October, A.D. 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: founders; foundingfathers; georgewashington; pilgrims; prayer; proclamation; puritans; thanksgiving; washington

1 posted on 11/27/2002 9:03:25 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: billbears; Ff--150; 4ConservativeJustices; pubmom; LeeMcCoy
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
2 posted on 11/27/2002 9:05:17 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
Too bad they won't be reading this in the nation's public schools this week, as they did until the 1960's.
3 posted on 11/27/2002 9:07:22 AM PST by ppaul
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To: stainlessbanner
THank you and may God double His grace towards you and yours...
4 posted on 11/27/2002 9:12:06 AM PST by Ff--150
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To: stainlessbanner
The federal judges of the U. S. Ninth Circuit have ruled this proclaimation unconstitutional. Sorry.
5 posted on 11/27/2002 9:14:03 AM PST by Cincinatus
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To: stainlessbanner
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

You too and those you love!

Nice post. (btw)

6 posted on 11/27/2002 9:29:56 AM PST by elbucko
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To: elbucko
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am extremely thankful that a man the likes of Washington, was where he was , when he was, and did what he did. The man was a gift from Providence.
7 posted on 11/27/2002 9:39:10 AM PST by elbucko
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To: stainlessbanner
8 posted on 11/27/2002 9:40:35 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: stainlessbanner
And may you have a blessed Thanksgiving as well
9 posted on 11/27/2002 9:44:25 AM PST by billbears
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To: stainlessbanner
10 posted on 11/27/2002 9:55:07 AM PST by Conservateacher
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To: stainlessbanner
If we only had men like Geo. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams today, what a better world it would be.
11 posted on 11/27/2002 9:58:09 AM PST by B Knotts
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To: stainlessbanner
Thank for a post reminding us where our Founding Fathers stood on the issue of "Church and State."

Had George Washington been alive today, he'd find himself thinking seriously about recruiting for Continental Army II.

12 posted on 11/27/2002 10:03:48 AM PST by F16Fighter
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To: stainlessbanner
Excellent post sb.

May the Lord continue to bless you & your family in the coming year.

13 posted on 11/27/2002 10:06:22 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: stainlessbanner
Many people think that George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation represents the first official celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States. However, there was an earlier recommendation to set apart a day to give thanks issued in 1777 during the Continental Congress. I just read about it today and looked it up. Here it is (complete with notes and the text in bold).
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789

Link to date-related documents.

Mr. [William] Clingan, a delegate from Pensylvania, attended and took his seat.

Congress proceeded to the choice of a president; and, the ballots being taken,

The Honble. Henry Laurens was elected.1

[Note 1: Roberdeau wrote: "Henry Laurens, Vice President of South Carolina, a worthy, sensible, indefatigable Gentleman, was this day chosen by a unanimous vote, except his own, President of Congress." Pennsylvania Archives, First Series, V, 735.]

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to these states, to set apart a day of thanksgiving, brought in a report; which was agreed to as follows:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart1 and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." And it is further recommended, that servile labour, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.2
[Note 1: The original read: "That at one time and with one voice."]

[Note 2: This report, in the writing of Samuel Adams, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 431.]

The several matters to this day referred, being postponed,

Adjourned to 10 o'Clock on Monday.

14 posted on 11/27/2002 10:49:48 AM PST by Mr. Mulliner
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To: ppaul; Ff--150; Cincinatus; elbucko; Fiddlstix; billbears; Conservateacher; B Knotts; F16Fighter; ..
Interesting note - on Jeopardy tonite, the first answer of the Double Jeopardy round was: "This president issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789".

None of the contestents got it! I think Alex was a little dismayed. Had they read this thread, they may have got it!

Have a great Turkey Day everyone.

15 posted on 11/27/2002 4:53:56 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
Go bless you and yours...

A George Washington/Thanksgiving Day Bump

16 posted on 11/27/2002 5:00:44 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: stainlessbanner

17 posted on 11/27/2002 5:54:17 PM PST by ppaul
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To: stainlessbanner
How it looked when first published in the Massachusetts Sentinel Oct 14, 1789

18 posted on 11/27/2002 6:06:54 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: ppaul; Pharmboy
Nice work guys - I'm printing out to share with others over turkey tomorrow! Thanks.
19 posted on 11/27/2002 6:46:20 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner; billbears; Ff--150; blam; pubmom; LeeMcCoy; lentulusgracchus; GOPcapitalist; ...
Happy Thanksgiving one and all [and any I missed] - I pray that each of you have a safe and happy Thansgiving, and enjoy the companionship of family, loved ones and friends.
20 posted on 11/27/2002 6:47:12 PM PST by 4CJ
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To: stainlessbanner
Ancient Fathers Still Speak Wisdom

Dear Friends:

The American Puritans did more than any other group in modern church history to promote the idea of days of thanksgiving. For the Puritans, who did not recognize or celebrate a formal liturgical calendar, it was the responsibility of local congregations to declare and set aside special days of rejoicing to communicate appreciation for the providential blessings and deliverances of God. But the practice of celebrating days of thanksgiving is deeply rooted in Holy Scripture, with its known origin in the ancient Hebrews. Esther 9:19 give us one such example in which thanksgiving was declared for the deliverances of God, and expressed through feasting and gift-giving:

"Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another."


For an encouraging family read-aloud article on the Mayflower Compact, Pilgrims, and patriarchy, click here.

Or, to download for your Thursday dinner a copy of Felicia Dorothea Hemans' classic Thanksgiving poem, click here.


Psalm 100 is specifically designated as a psalm of thanksgiving. It was a favorite of the Pilgrims who incorporated it into their regular psalmody. To read a commentary on Psalm 100 by Charles Spurgeon, the "Prince of Preachers," click here.


Bless God, we have much for which to be thankful. Like every opportunity in life, this year's celebration will only happen once and then it will be gone forever. Make the most of it by reminding your loved ones and your friends just how much you love them. More importantly, give thanks to the Lord God, for His mercy endures forever.

In the words of the Pilgrims' Geneva Bible, "It is He that made and not we" (Psalm 100). This means we have no right to demand blessings. He is the Creator, we are the creature. We deserve nothing from His hand but judgment, and yet he has been merciful and kind to each of us in a thousand remarkable ways. Thanks be to our great God and provider.


Doug Phillips

21 posted on 11/27/2002 7:05:28 PM PST by ppaul
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The Mayflower Compact

22 posted on 11/27/2002 7:09:37 PM PST by ppaul
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To: stainlessbanner
Thank you for posting this thread. God Bless . . .
23 posted on 11/27/2002 8:19:41 PM PST by BraveMan
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To: stainlessbanner
Good post.

My kindergartner came home with a book titled, “Why we Have Thanksgiving” which would have you believe that the Pilgrims were atheist who left Europe so that they wouldn’t have to go to church. They were thankful that they could picnic with the Indians instead.

I will use some of what’s presented here in a rebuttal to the teacher, librarian and principle.
24 posted on 11/27/2002 8:42:57 PM PST by Barnacle
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To: Barnacle
Go get 'em, Barnacle. Show them no mercy -- milquetoast Marxists that they are these days. Show 'em that it ain't about purple dinosaurs and kids with two mommies!
25 posted on 11/27/2002 11:06:53 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: stainlessbanner
Hey, Stainless -- thanks for the research, and for the post. Good find!

Vox populi, vox Dei.

26 posted on 11/27/2002 11:11:52 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: stainlessbanner
Glad your post got a bit more response than mine...

27 posted on 11/28/2002 3:42:05 AM PST by Fintan
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
And a Happy Thanksgiving to you too! And to all!

Here's another Presidential Proclamation to add to the thread:


Washington, D.C.
October 3, 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

28 posted on 11/28/2002 6:53:02 AM PST by Huck
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To: Huck
Bump for later reading!
29 posted on 11/29/2002 12:14:47 PM PST by I still care
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To: Fintan
Great minds think alike :^D
30 posted on 11/29/2002 7:25:18 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: Cincinatus

Sorry but a court can only declare a law unconstitutional.

31 posted on 12/01/2004 7:34:26 AM PST by pawoobie
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