Thursday, November 27, 2008

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation

George Washington was the first president to make a Thanksgiving proclamation--doing so in 1789, when New York was the capital.

It didn't become a annual celebration until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued the following statement:

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 consciousness 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 United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

As the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth approaches, I'll be posting more about the man born in poverty in a humble log cabin. In the meantime, enjoy these earlier Lincoln posts:

Abraham Lincoln birthplace site
Abraham Lincoln birthplace site's log cabin
"My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place"
Andrew Ferguson video on his new book, Land of Lincoln
Book review: Andrew Ferguson's "Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America"
Stephen A. Douglas Tomb in Chicago
My Mississippi Manifest Destiny: Jonesboro, site of the third Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Thirty hours in Lincoln's Springfield, Illinois

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colecurtis said...

Thank you my friend for reminding us that God is in fact our almighty benefactor whether people want to recognize or give credit to or not. I am so thankful for my family members both near and far as well as all of my blessings and bounties. One of my favorite blessings is my friends here on facebook that I will enjoy for many years I hope, but regardless my friends like you with a blog I can always drop in on. Happy Thanksgiving my friend and God Bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Pundit O'Tool.