Thanksgiving Day

Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln -- 1863

 

 

Inasmuch as we know that nations, like individuals, are subjected to the punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of Civil War that now desolates our land may be but 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 that preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all of these blessings were provided by some superior wisdom or 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 who made us.  

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness.

 

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

the end

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