Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I guess George Washington didn't get the memo about "separation of church and state"! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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 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, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington

The Original


  1. We always read this on Thanksgiving in my family. I always cry a bit too :)

  2. Sunshine, I was just telling my family we need to read this at dinner this year!

  3. Hi Leila,

    My children and I studied Thanksgiving in great depth this year, and we read this. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I've been cooking ALL day! Make sure you check your spam, I sent you an e-card (from Jacquie Lawson website). God bless, Annita

  4. Leila- you should! I love this tradition- most times we have my dad read it but sometimes my oldest brother will. I figure all the nieces & nephews will never hear this in school so we have to educate them!

  5. How come I've never read this? Love it! I'm printing it out to bring to both sides of our families this year too. Awesome!

  6. What a beautiful proclamation for today, thank you! If I had a printer I would print it out to read at our fam's dinner celebration...

  7. I never learned this either! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Leila, this is great, and more should read it, and remember that our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. As I was telling someone at a workshop last week, this was to prevent the installation of something akin to a "king priest". But if you read the writings of the early fathers of our country, they were founded on Christian, albeit Protestant, principles.

    On this day, it would do well for us to look back into the Old Testament, and look at the time of the Judges, Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Remember that during these times, when Israel was true to God, Israel prospered and was victorious. When Israel acted against the laws of God, they were ripe for attack and being subdued by their enemies.

    Likewise, Saul sought to be like the kings of other nations, and David sought to be a man of God in all things. He gave glory to God in all, and when David was at fault, he was very quick to acknowledge his own complicity, and not blame God for his ill fortune. Solomon, too, set out by not obeying God, and fell into all manner of trouble.

    On this day, we should be grateful for the many blessings we have, and to give glory to the Living God, the Father, the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We should remember Christ's words that when we cared for the sick, fed and clothed the poor, and visited those in prison, that we tended to Christ Himself.

    Peace and Blessings to you, your family, and all that may read this.


  9. Thank you for sharing this. I think we'll read it for next year's Thanksgiving (since it's already passed this year).


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