Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

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.1

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

1 Abraham Lincoln. A Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day. March 30, 1863.
2 Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. October 3, 1863.