Here’s What Thomas Jefferson Said About Giving Thanks:

We’re counting down to Thanksgiving at our office. Today we continue our series tracing the history of Thanksgiving.

At the prompting of the Continental Congress, on November 11, 1779, Thomas Jefferson—who was governor of Virginia at the time—issued a proclamation calling on Virginians to turn to God in prayer.

The proclamation says that “it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise,” and sets aside December 9 as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer. It also calls on ministers to hold church services.

Jefferson’s proclamation is significant for two reasons:

First, because Thomas Jefferson is often regarded as one of the least religious of the Founding Fathers—even though he regularly attended church and read the Bible.

And second, because it is one of the earliest examples of a public official designating a day specifically for the purpose of giving thanks to God.

You can read Jefferson’s entire proclamation here.

For more than two centuries Americans have been pausing to give thanks at this time of year. I hope you and I can continue to carry that tradition forward, teaching it to our children and grandchildren.

If you have never donated to Family Council or the Education Alliance, now is a great time to do so. Your financial support will make Arkansas a better place to live, work, and raise a family. It will promote and strengthen home schooling. It will help fight abortion and make Arkansas a more pro-life state. Click here to send a generous, tax-deductible donation today.

Have You Read This Proclamation?

We’re counting down to Thanksgiving at our office. Today we continue our series tracing the history of Thanksgiving.

In 1775—more than a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence—the Continental Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day for colonists to fast, pray for God’s blessing, and join together for worship.

A year later in 1776 Congress issues a similar proclamation. By that time, the American Revolution was in full swing and country’s situation was dire.

In November of 1777 Congress issued a third prayer proclamation—this time calling for citizens to “acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to [God] for benefits received.” In other words, to give thanks.

Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it was fairly common for Congress to issue proclamations each year calling on Americans to pray for the nation. The 1777 proclamation is significant, because it is one of the first setting aside a day for giving thanks. Congress did not only want people to pray for the nation, but also to thank God for the blessings He had already given.

You can read the proclamation from 1777 here.

Thanksgiving is deeply woven into the fabric of our nation. It is more than just turkey, football games, parades, and Black Friday. It’s about stopping to pray and give thanks to God.

If you have never donated to Family Council or the Education Alliance, now is a great time to do so. Your financial support will make Arkansas a better place to live, work, and raise a family. It will promote and strengthen home schooling. It will help fight abortion and make Arkansas a more pro-life state. Click here to send a generous, tax-deductible donation today.

Counting Down to Thanksgiving

When people think about Thanksgiving, they probably picture the Pilgrims. That’s a major part of Thanksgiving’s history, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Before it became a federal holiday, Thanksgiving was a day appointed by Congress, the President, or the state legislatures or governors.

Early in our nation’s history, Congress sometimes appointed more than one day of prayer of thanksgiving in a given year. That’s because Thanksgiving wasn’t simply a time for eating turkey. It was a time for prayer. Virtually every early thanksgiving proclamation includes calls for prayer along with fasting, corporate worship, confession of sin, and so on.

We have posted several of these proclamations as part of our Words From Our Founders series on our Family Council website. You can find excerpts from a few Thanksgiving proclamations issued from 1775 to 1813 by clicking here. I hope they give you an idea of what Thanksgiving was meant to be in this country.

If you have never donated to Family Council or the Education Alliance, now is a great time to do so. Your financial support will make Arkansas a better place to live, work, and raise a family. It will promote and strengthen home schooling. It will help fight abortion and make Arkansas a more pro-life state. Click here to send a generous, tax-deductible donation today.