Thanksgiving is a uniquely American Holiday – a time when We the People correctly remember the sacrifices and the triumphs of a tiny Christian congregation called the Pilgrims who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean seeking religious freedom.   From 1621, as the Pilgrims thanked God for His protection and provision, up until this present day, we Americans celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday.  Presidents and Governors have issued Proclamations of Thanksgiving providing suitable governmental recognition.  An interesting study indeed of American History can be learned from reading the Presidential Proclamations of Thanksgiving (and prayer) through the years, because they document distant details in America, during times of pestilence and war and in times of plenty and peace.

SOURCE for the following: The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, B.F. Morris, pages .274-275, ©1864 

“The first session of the First Congress was not suffered to pass without a solemn act of legislation recognizing the Christian religion.  It was a national thanksgiving, proclaimed by the authority of Congress. The Journals of Congress present the following record.”   

September 25, 1789   “Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he 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 to peaceably establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness…The Resolution was unanimously adopted, and in pursuance thereof, Washington issued the following:

Proclamation For A National Thanksgiving
“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, 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 twenty-sixth of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United 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 then may all unite 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 interposition’s 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 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 [H]e has been pleased to confer upon us.”

“And, also, that we may then unite in most humble offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of the Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us, whether in public or in private stations, to perform our several 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 executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially those who 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 grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as [H]e 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 one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.  George Washington

Provided by Frankie S. Anderson, Nationally-Known Lecturer, and Educator