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  • Morning Bell: Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

    Happy Thanksgiving from The Heritage Foundation! As we celebrate and give thanks today, we invite you to read President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation below.

    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.

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    8 Responses to Morning Bell: Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

    1. My friend Tom gave me a copy of this for Thanksgiving. God bless!

    2. PaulE says:

      What a stark contrast this paints. Lincoln was advocating a nation come together, under the common belief in God, to give thanks no matter one's circumstances. To strive to do better and ultimately live in peace. Today we have a president who advocates division and envy and the belief that the government offers salvation for all things. How our value system has declined.

    3. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Lincoln proclaimed a day for thanksgiving after a victory at Gettysburg.

    4. Stephen Atkinson says:

      Always, it seems, the country's greatest leaders invoked the name of God Almighty when giving thanks, or simply recognizing our pitiful attempts to design a destiny for ourselves not in accord with His wishes. Lincoln, and those others before him, knew this instinctively; it was a mere matter of knowing affirmatively that there was no greater or higher authority than He who quietly instructed us. National institutions and national ideals fail only when we see ourselves as being the greater decider of their appropriateness. In other words, when we dis-invite God from our lives, we reap the whirlwinds of free-will decisions, and suffer terrible consequences.

    5. Carolyn Furman says:

      Honest Abe, wish we could feel that way today about our elected officials. A blessed Thnksgiving America.

    6. Dan Halvorsen says:


    7. Henry Hefner says:

      As an organization whose mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense;" I think you would do better to stay away from anything that seems to promote President Lincoln. His actions showed him to have values very much different than ours.

    8. Eleanor Maus says:

      I guess it would be illegal for a teacher in the public schools to read this historic document to the pupils. Instead they are now thought that We should not celebrate it because it is a celebration of turkeys stolen from the Indians, by a bunch of Pilgrims that brought yo them sickness and stole their land away……WoW!
      Turkey day it is … and half of it is an early shopping mall invasion called Black Friday. Think about it.

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