Why was Thanksgiving created?
My guess, unfortunately, is that were you to ask 100 people randomly why was Thanksgiving created, not a one would know the answer. And what may be worse, I bet only a handful out of those randomly chosen 100 people wouldn’t even know who proclaimed and created Thanksgiving. The United States Congress asked our Founding Father and First President, George Washington, to make to recommend a day of public “thanksgiving”. Why? To whom are we giving thanks?
Why was Thanksgiving created?
The answer is staring us right in the face from our Declaration of Independence, “…certain unalienable rights,…” We are thanking God (or for you atheists and agnostics out there, thanking our existence in humanity) for the rights that are inherent in us as a People, as human beings. No government can take these rights away as no government created these rights. We are born with these rights as given to us by the Almighty.
We are a unique country in history, this “American Experiment” written about in the French economist’s, Alex de Tocqueville, book “Democracy in America”. I believe he was quite prescient in what he wrote as a warning, paraphrasing from his book, American citizens would become so satisfied with being equal to one another that they would abandon their deep interest and involvement in self-government. If this should happen, cautioned de Tocqueville, the government would grow more powerful and in a kindly sort of way cover society with “a network of petty, complicated rules.” A network of petty, complicated rules … that sure sounds like what we’re dealing with today. I digress, however.
My purpose in this blog, is to acknowledge and give thanks to our Founders who by their wisdom, created a government which through our Constitution, put shackles on the federal government and gave thanks to God for our UNALIENABLE RIGHTS! Here’s George Washington’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving made in 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 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 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 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 unto 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.
Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks. In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government.
To those that have found this blog post and read it, I thank you.