Happy Thanksgiving! We are pleased to share with you the words of our first President, George Washington, in his 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation! This was the first time Thanksgiving was recognized by the national government in an official proclamation.
We are thankful to you, for your support of, prayers for and encouragement of our shared mission: to utilize the culture and multi-media outreach such as music, film, internet, and social media to reach, educate and inform America’s adults and students about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights.
We hope you enjoy reading the wise words of our first President, and Father of our Country!
Blessings to you and your family,
Janine & Cathy
New York, 3 October 1789]
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 thecourse 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 onto 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.
DS, CStbKML; DS, DLC:GW; copy, sold by Christie, Manson, & Woods, International, 21 Oct. 1977. The proclamation was also printed as a broadside. Copies of the broadside are at Harvard University, Yale University, and the Pierpont Morgan Library. Other copies are owned (1992) by Marshall B. Coyne, Washington, D.C., and Ralph Geoffrey Newman, Inc., Chicago. Reprinted in The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, v. 4, September 1789-January 1790. (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993), 131-32.
For background to this document, see Circular Letter to the Governors of the States, 3 Oct. 1789, n.1.
Read more about the background of President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation here: http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/thanksgiving/intro.html