George Washington’ s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 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 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 favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course 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 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 trangressions; 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 third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.



In today’s America, this proclamation- worded in the specific, humble and reverential manner in which it’s written, would be considered an unacceptable violation of the First Amendment because Washington mentioned God.

Nevermind the fact that Washington in the first paragraph of this proclamation, noted that both Houses of Congress requested him to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, observed by gratefully acknowledging the many favors of God- particularly for granting them the opportunity to peaceably establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. 

That bit of information, as real as it is, would still “offend” the “sensibilities” of many Americans who have forgotten not only the Providential manner in which the United States was created and- for now, sustained, but these same Americans have also made it their stated and or unstated mission to remove all vestiges of God from public spaces.  This unholy crusade has and will continue to have very specific moral consequences that will continue to negatively affect America’s culture- complicating, as Washington maintains, the promotion of the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue. 

True religion and moral virtue- absent a moral God whose character moral virtue is predicated upon- hasn’t, doesn’t and won’t work. Absent a moral God, virtue means whatever one wants it to mean.  In other words, moral relativism and confusion.

My prayer is that we continue to give thanks to God for the many blessings that he has bestowed upon America and through America, to the many countries around the world. 

Psalm 118:1 – Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.