Our first Thanksgiving under the Constitution began in Congress: “A message from the Senate informed the House that they had agreed to the resolution desiring the President of the United states to recommend a day of general thanksgiving…” -First Congress, September 28, 1789
George Washington responded: “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…
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… for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty… for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government… 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…” -George Washington, October 3, 1789
James Still, JamesStill@RetraceOurSteps.com
“… we should always remember… [the] strong and striking proofs of the interposition of Heaven… and instead of swelling our breasts with arrogant ideas of our powers and importance, kindle in them a flame of gratitude and piety…” -John Jay, Charge to the Grand Jury, 1777