Nov. 22, 2017
We have much to thank God for.
Below you can read an abbreviated version of an abstract concerning the observance of Thanksgiving. [Source for most of the version is: https://www.varsitytutors.com/earlyamerica/firsts/first-thanksgiving-observance ]
The observance of Thanksgiving in America, began with the colonists of Plymouth Plantation in the fall of 1621. In 1671 there was a proclamation in Massachusetts to observe Thanksgiving. The observance of a day of Thanksgiving spread through the colonies, and during the 1700’s, Thanksgiving Day was observed as a day of fasting and praying.
In 1789 President George Washington made the first national proclamation setting aside one specific day in 1789 (Thursday, November 16) as “A Day of Publick Thanksgiving Prayer.”
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation, making the fourth Tuesday of November a national holiday. It was the first time Thanksgiving became an annual national holiday.
Then in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to move Thanksgiving a week earlier to benefit businesses, but was pressured into keeping it in the fourth week of November — so it was moved in 1941 to the fourth Thursday each November, as it is today.
Attached you will find an Abstract of the above history. Attached and below you can read the actual Thanksgiving Proclamation by Pres. George Washington Oct 14, 1789.
Source for picture above and proclamation below: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 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 favour; 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 PUBLICK 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 TWENTY-SIXTH 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 favours 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 publick 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 unto 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 third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
[Find online: Abstract of the history of Thanksgiving 1789_and the Thanksgiving Proclamation by Pres. George Washington.