1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation — Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln’s — Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins & transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy & pardon; & to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures & proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments & chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace & prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth & power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace & multiplied & enriched & strengthened us, & we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom & virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming & preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit & proper that God should be solemnly, reverently & gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart & one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, & also those who are at sea & those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart & observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving & praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.
— A. Lincoln, October 3, 1863.
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