President George Washington Declares a Day of Thanksgiving

President George Washington Declares a Day of Thanksgiving

by Sandra Merville Hart

The Revolutionary War was over. Leaders wrote a new United States Constitution. The nation elected its first president. Peace reigned again.

New Jersey Representative Elias Boudinot asked that Congress pass a resolution to request that President George Washington declare a thanksgiving observance.

Congress passed the resolution. President Washington liked the idea and agreed.

On October 3, 1789, Washington issued a proclamation that Thursday, November 26th was to be a national day of thanks to God. He reminded Americans that God’s care had led them through the Revolution and helped them establish a new government and Constitution.

Washington sent the proclamation to state governors. Newspapers printed it to tell citizens about it.

There were public celebrations and church services on that first Thanksgiving as a nation. President Washington attended a church in New York city, St. Paul’s Chapel. He remembered those who were imprisoned for debts in the city by giving them food.

This didn’t establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Though Washington and other presidents declared days of Thanksgiving from time to time, Lincoln was the one to make it a yearly observance.


Sandy KCP06 smallAbout Sandra Merville Hart

Award-winning author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover fascinating historical facts for her novels and stories. She was an editor and writer for DevoKids for several years and is now Executive Editor. She’s excited to be part of this fun, educational, and inspirational ministry for children.



Byron, T.K. Ph.D. “Thanksgiving,” Mount Vernon, 2017/10/30

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