The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and
healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the
source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they
can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful
Providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
Abraham LincolnBy the President
Dear Webmaster (Thanksgiving 2001): I recently received via e-mail a copy of the Lincoln Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, and decided to learn more about it. What I learned was that the Proclamation that was e-mailed to me was a fake. For the correct text, check out: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Fields/8616/Thanksgiving/lincoln.html. I also found two sites who have more info on the fake version. (See http://www.achievebalance.com/think/lincoln.htm and http://members.aol.com/paulbeedle/thanksgiving.html Thought you might want to know. Regards, B.H.
“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 and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope
that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to
recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and
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 and 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 choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
The better-known speech -- November 19, 1863: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was asked to deliver a few appropriate remarks to the crowd at the dedication of the National Cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln's address was almost ignored in the wake of the lengthy oration by main speaker Edwin Everett. In fact, Lincoln's speech was over before many in the crowd were even aware that he was speaking. But Lincoln's eloquent words of redemption and sacrifice remain revered in American history. He concluded his thoughts with this vow: We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
February 12, 1809: President Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County Kentucky. Although roughly criticized during his own era, Lincoln must be considered as one of American (if not World) history's great personages. Lincoln first entered National politics as a Whig congressman from Illinois, but he lost his seat after one term due to his unpopular position on the Mexican War. The 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates for the U.S. Senate seat gave him a national reputation eventhough he lost the election. In 1860, Lincoln became the first top leader elected from the Republican Party, the 16th President. After a devisive campaign, where the Democrat Party split its majority (of votes) between two regional candidates, Abraham Lincoln was declared President on February 13, 1861. His election led to the War between the States, when southern States tried to leave the Union. The President perished a few days before the War's end at the hand of an assassin. Illinois made President Lincoln's birthday a state holiday in 1892, but it never became a National holiday. In 1915, the cornerstone for the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington, D.C.
In 2009 we celebrate the bicentennial of his birthday and the centennial of the Lincoln cent with new reverses for the coin. They were released beginning February 12th. A set of four 42 cent Lincoln commemorative stamps are also scheduled for release by USPS. http://stamps.about.com/od/buyingsellingstamps/ig/2009-USPS-Stamp-Releases/index_g.htm
God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed; Give us the courage to change what should be changed; Give us the wisdom to distinguish one from the other. by Reinhold Niebuhr, Theologian from Lincoln, Illinois