November 27, 2019
Thanksgiving – 230 Years Later
Thanksgiving is one of our leading national holidays here in the USA. It has roots in the Bible and going back to the earliest settlements. Contrary to popular belief, the first Thanksgiving celebration occurred at the Jamestown Colony in 1619 and did not involve feasting, but it may likely have involved fasting. To learn more, Visit Williamsburg
During the American Revolution, days of thanksgiving and fasting start were called for by the Continental Congress. However, the day was not a national day of celebration but still a regional and sectional event after independence. It was not until President Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of thanksgiving in 1863 during the American Civil War before it would become a regular part of the American fabric. And President Franklin Roosevelt made it a permanent holiday in 1939 during the Great Depression. To learn more, visit the History Channel
The first president to call for a national day of thanksgiving was George Washington, 230 years ago, during his first term of office. For those who would argue that the United States Founding Fathers believed in a firm separation between church and state this document is a challenge.
He called upon Americans to express their gratitude to the LORD for the peaceful conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789
By the President of the United States of America. a 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 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 which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been 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 all the great and various favors which he hath 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 shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease 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 third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
PERMALINK | https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-04-02-0091