225px-Thanksgiving-BrownscombeWilliam Bradford on the Pilgrims at Plymouth

Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven 10 who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people’s present condition; and so I think will the reader, too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembered by that which went before), they had now no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies; no houses or much less town to repair to, to seek for succour.

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity,” 13 etc. “Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and His mercies endure forever.” “Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men.”


In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.

Signing the Mayflower Compact by Edward Percy Moran

John Carver          William Bradford          Edward Winslow          William Brewster          Isaac Allerton
Miles Standish         John Alden         Samuel Fuller         Christopher Martin         William Mullins
William White         James Chilton         John Craxton         John Billington         Richard Warren         John Howland
Steven Hopkins         Edward Tilly         John Tilly         Francis Cook          Thomas Rogers         Thomas Tinker
John Rigdale         Edward Fuller         John Turner         Francis Eaton         Moses Fletcher         Digery Priest
Thomas Williams         Gilbert Winslow          Edmond Margeson          Peter Brown         Richard Bitteridge
Richard Clark         Richard Gardiner         John Allerton         Thomas English         Edward Doten
Edward Liester         John Goodman         George Soule



A Proclamation of Thanksgiving for the New National Government of the United States under the Constitution

From George Washington, October 3, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey
his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and
whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to
the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and
happiness.” Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next
to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is
the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite
in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the
People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies,
and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and
conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have
since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish
constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now
lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we
have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various
favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most
humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and
beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public
or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render
our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise,
just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide
all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them
with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true
religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto
all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my
hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


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