Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1863

If a nation ever needed Divine assistance it was our own America during the Civil War.  Riven in two, the nation must have seemed on a path to destruction by many of those who lived through that terrible trial.  Abraham Lincoln, as he led the United States through that struggle, increasingly found his mind turning to God.  This Proclamation was written by Secretary of State Seward, but the sentiments are no doubt ones in which Lincoln fully joined.

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. (more…)

Published in: on November 8, 2021 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

1919 Thanksgiving Proclamation

 

 

The season of the year has again arrived when the people of the United States are accustomed to unite in giving thanks to Almighty God for the blessings which He has conferred upon our country during the twelve months that have passed. A year ago our people poured out their hearts in praise and thanksgiving that through divine aid the right was victorious and peace had come to the nations which had so courageously struggled in defense of human liberty and justice. Now that the stern task is ended and the fruits of achievement are ours, we look forward with confidence to the dawn on an era where the sacrifices of the nations will find recompense in a world at peace.But to attain the consummation of the great work to which the American people devoted their manhood and the vast resources of their country they should, as they give thanks to God, reconsecrate themselves to those principles of right which triumphed through His merciful goodness. Our gratitude can find no more perfect expression than to bulwark with loyalty and patriotism those principles for which the free peoples of the earth fought and died.During the past year we have had much to make us grateful. In spite of the confusion in our economic life resulting from the war we have prospered. Our harvests have been plentiful, and of our abundance we have been able to render succor to less favored nations. Our democracy remains unshaken in a world torn with political and social unrest. Our traditional ideals are still our guides in the path of progress and civilization.

These great blessings, vouchsafed to us, for which we devoutly give thanks, should arouse us to a fuller sense of our duty to ourselves and to mankind to see to it that nothing that we may do shall mar the completeness of the victory which we helped to win. No selfish purpose animated us in becoming participants in the world war, and with a like spirit of unselfishness we should strive to aid by our example and by our cooperation in realizing the enduring welfare of all peoples and in bringing into being a world ruled by friendship and good will.Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-seventh day of November next, for observance as a day of thanksgiving and prayer by my fellow-countrymen, inviting them to cease on that day from their ordinary tasks and to unite in their homes and in their several places of worship in ascribing praise and thanksgiving to God the Author of all blessings and the Master of our destinies.In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done in the District of Columbia this 5thday of November in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-fourth.

WOODROW WILSON

Published in: on November 24, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Thansgiving Day Proclamation 1983

Since the Pilgrims observed the initial Thanksgiving holiday in 1621, this occasion has served as a singular expression of the transcending spiritual values that played an instrumental part in the founding of our country.  One hundred and twenty years ago, in the midst of a great and terrible civil conflict, President Lincoln formally proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to remind those “insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God” of this Nation’s bounty and greatness. Several days after the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield, the United States celebrated its first national Thanksgiving.
Every year since then, our Nation has faithfully continued this tradition. The time has come once again to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, an occasion for Americans to express gratitude to their God and their country.

In his remarks at Gettysburg, President Lincoln referred to ours as a Nation “under God.” We rejoice in the fact that, while we have maintained separate institutions of church and state over our 200 years of freedom, we have at the same time preserved reverence for spiritual beliefs. Although we are a pluralistic society, the giving of thanks can be a true bond of unity among our people. We can unite in gratitude for our individual freedoms and individual faiths. We can be united in gratitude for our Nation’s peace and prosperity when so many in this world have neither.
As was written in the first Thanksgiving Proclamation 120 years ago, “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.” God has blessed America and her people, and it is appropriate we recognize this bounty.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, in the spirit of the Pilgrims, President Lincoln, and all succeeding Presidents, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1983, as a National Day of Thanksgiving, and I call upon Americans to affirm this day of thanks by their prayers and their gratitude for the many blessings upon this land and its people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 15th day of Sept., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America
the two hundred and eighth.
RONALD REAGAN.

Published in: on November 23, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Thansgiving Day Proclamation 1983  
Tags: , , ,

Thanksgiving 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.” (more…)

Published in: on November 22, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Thanksgiving 1789  
Tags: , , ,

Thanksgiving Proclamation 1944

 

Thanksgiving 1944 saw Americans fighting around the globe, with their families back home praying for their safety.  FDR recognized this with his 1944 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

 

In this year of liberation, which has seen so many millions freed from tyrannical rule, it is fitting that we give thanks with special fervor to our Heavenly Father for the mercies we have received individually and as a nation and for the blessings He has restored, through the victories of our arms and those of our allies, to His children in other lands.

For the preservation of our way of life from the threat of destruction; for the unity of spirit which has kept our Nation strong; for our abiding faith in freedom; and for the promise of an enduring peace, we should lift up our hearts in thanksgiving.

For the harvest that has sustained us and, in its fullness, brought succor to other peoples; for the bounty of our soil, which has produced the sinews of war for the protection of our liberties; and for a multitude of private blessings, known only in our hearts, we should give united thanks to God.

To the end that we may bear more earnest witness to our gratitude to Almighty God, I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas. Let every man of every creed go to his own version of the Scriptures for a renewed and strengthening contact with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this nation has achieved.

Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, do hereby proclaim Thursday the twenty-third day of November 1944 a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of the United States to observe it by bending every effort to hasten the day of final victory and by offering to God our devout gratitude for His goodness to us and to our fellow men.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this first day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-four and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-ninth.


FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

 

 

Published in: on November 26, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Thanksgiving Proclamation 1944  
Tags: , ,

Confederate Thanksgiving: 1862

Abraham Lincoln was not the only president to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation in the Civil War:

Once more upon  the plains of Manassas have our armies been blessed by the Lord of Hosts with a  triumph over our enemies.  It is my privilege to invite you once more to His  footstool, not now in the garb of fasting and sorrow, but with joy and gladness,  to render thanks for the great mercies received at His hand.  A few months  since, and our enemies poured forth their invading legions upon our soil.  They  laid waste our fields, polluted our altars and violated the sanctity of our  homes.  Around our capital they gathered their forces, and with boastful  threats, claimed it as already their prize.  The brave troops which rallied to  its defense have extinguished these vain hopes, and, under the guidance of the  same almighty hand, have scattered our enemies and driven them back in dismay.   Uniting these defeated forces and the various armies which had been ravaging our  coasts with the army of invasion in Northern Virginia, our enemies have renewed  their attempt to subjugate us at the very place where their first effort was  defeated, and the vengeance of retributive justice has overtaken the entire host  in a second and complete overthrow. (more…)

Published in: on November 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,