Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation*
“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God. It is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the over-ruling power of God. To confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that with 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 subject to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justify 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 benevolent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
The first two paragraphs of the quote are from Abraham Lincoln's "Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day," March 30, 1863. The rest quoted here is from Lincoln's October 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation.